Many narratives set in the future — whether through forecasting or science fiction — are often dystopian. Within this framework, fear becomes the catalyst for change. But how can we be certain that our solutions will lead to positive outcomes? 
PHENOMENA originated as a tool and series of workshops that combine familiar gaming techniques with theatrical methods. During the experience, participants are asked to imagine preferred futures guided by a shared vision of “what makes a planet meaningful to us and how can we sustain that remarkable feeling together?” Participants walk away with new design concepts that are rooted in their personal experiences of joy, while engaging in self-reflection as both creators and inhabitants of our planet.
PHENOMENA fosters open collaboration among teams through participatory design (PD) approaches and situates play as central to the design process. The tool is intended to offer an alternative design methodology, establish meaningful connections with our planet, and democratize the pursuit of solving world problems. Workshop sessions are open to anyone interested in this topic, preferably those from interdisciplinary and multicultural backgrounds. Participants should be open to playing games and engaging in physical theatre within a group setting.
Interested in a workshop for your organization? Contact us.
The tool consists of the following gaming parts:
Recollection: Cards that recall personal experiences from the past
• Discover: Cards that discover new ideas within a set time in the future
• Tokens: Hexagonal pieces that mark each turn on the map and on which responses are recorded
• Design: Special tokens that initiate the design process for the present
We've held in-person and virtual workshops for cross-disciplinary teams at the following institutions:
• Design Research Society, Bilbao, Spain
• Planetary Futures of Health and Wellbeing Conference, Turku, Finland
• Participatory Design Conference, Newcastle, UK
• Prague City University, Czech Republic
• University of the Arts London (UAL), UK
• Universidad de Desarrollo, Chile
The following are alternative concepts for planetary care designed by workshop participants:
Check-In Dinners: A concept where neighbors bring locally-sourced or backyard ingredients to a communal kitchen, cook a meal together, and connect through the joy of eating. The map addresses the need for neighborhood wellbeing, as well as the importance of localized farming as a means for sustainable consumption. ​​​​​​​

Map of ‘Check-In Dinners’​​​​​​​ created by participants.

Visual representation from Dall-E 2.

TEK-Tuning: A concept that allows non-human entities and “Traditional Ecological Knowledges” to guide our experiences with nature. The map addresses how we can deepen interactions with our surroundings to help inform environmental legislation and human behavior in the future.

Map of ‘TEK-Tuning’ created by participants.

Visual representation from Dall-E 2.

“After this experience, I feel really hopeful about the world.”
— Participant & Graphic Designer 
Interested in having us run a workshop for your organization? Contact us.

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