Client
Deliverable
Pilot of Futures Process
Year
2017

Open Futures

Exploring ways to build futures techniques into an innovation lab’s design process
Client
Deliverable
Design Principles
Manifesto
Year
2016
Client details
Open Experience (OX) is the Royal Bank of Scotland’s innovation lab, based in Edinburgh and London, and established in 2016. They address challenges from across all parts of the bank, while championing a human-centered and collaborative attitude to innovation through design thinking approaches. 
CLIENT DETAILS

Open Experience (OX) is the Royal Bank of Scotland’s innovation lab, based in Edinburgh and London, and established in 2016. They address challenges from across all parts of the bank, while championing a human-centered and collaborative attitude to innovation through design thinking approaches. 
THE CHALLENGE
The Open Experience (OX) department at the time of engagement was a relatively new entity within the bank. They were still working to define and develop their own culture, to differentiate from other design and innovation capabilities in RBS, and to build distinct processes and approaches.
Building on one of OX’s projects, we were asked to run a pilot to see if they could extract extra value from the research they had already conducted, converting it into future scenarios which could drive product and service conceptualisation.
OUR APPROACH

We worked with members of one of OX’s past projects, examined their existing research, re-formatted it, and designed a process (which blended techniques like Causal Layered Analysis, Deductive Scenario Planning, Systems Mapping, and Backcasting) to convert the research into future scenarios. 
Across a three day working session with the extended OX team, we extrapolated from their research and generated a diverse series of four possible future scenarios around their research theme which explored different pathways for the sector dependant on changing social attitudes and barriers for entry to the sector. These scenarios were prototypes initially as dioramas using toys and collage, before being refined into illustrations and then mined for further insight. 

To conclude, we explored opportunities to integrate a similar futures approach into other projects, in order to create a space for expanded thinking and visioning, while also nurturing a future-focussed innovation culture in OX.

Results

FIGHTING MYOPIA

Through applying futures techniques, we managed to help the OX team identify social, political, technological and economic factors which would otherwise have gone unnoticed, due to tight constraints and focus on delivery which is often present in a corporate environment. Furthermore, the OX team identified threats and opportunities to the bank which otherwise had not been identified or seriously discussed, challenging their ideas around what a ‘preferable’ future for the bank would look like.

NEW APPROACHES

This project demonstrated the potential of integrating futures into their design approach, and expanded the OX team’s set of innovation tools and processes. Since the project’s completion, OX has been experimenting further with using futures techniques in innovation projects exploring how they can be used to strengthen strategic decision-making and inform near-term developments.

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