Speculation vs. Validation

From Anthony Dunne’s first two chapters, I get that speculative design can widen the way think of a certain thing by coming up with alternatives. But what I don’t quite get is how to validate speculative design. The space of alternatives must be much larger than that of what already exists or is going to happen. How can we validate a certain piece of alternative presents the value speculative design promises?

In Human-Computer Interaction (especially the non-design subfields), it seems that for anything visionary to be accepted by the community it needs to set a strong case for its future existence as well as some sorts of validation to prove ‘it works’. There are very few exceptions. The very first one I can think of is Hiroshi Ishii’s work where his approach is to overwhelm doubts with coolness. Yet there is still no systematic way to conduct research that expands the ‘cone’ to the plausible and possible.

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One thought on “Speculation vs. Validation

  1. The point of speculative design is not to find alternative solutions, but to present alternative ways of thinking. With speculative design, we aim to question whether or not an idea is culturally feasible or desirable, to foresee problems and challenge what we believe is good design.

    You imply that speculative design is limited by the fact that there is no validation process when, in fact, the opposite is true. Because speculative design is unconstrained by standards of the industry and technical feasibility of present day, it can focus on things like cultural issues and future problems. It therefore contributes ideas on issues that other fields neglect.

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