Syllabus overview (public)

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Programme Master in Management
Academic Year Academic Year 2023/2024
Module/course Code IA12
Delivery location Paris
Language English
Course type Elective courses 30h
Contact hours 30
Semester Spring
Module name Design Fiction for Sustainable Futures
Field (Discipline) Sustainable Development, CSR and Ethics
Academic Department Information & operations Management
  • Martin LAUQUIN


Module/course Summary

You never change things by fighting the existing reality.

To change something, build a new model that makes the old model obsolete.

Richard Buckminster Fuller

The global climate crisis is a constant reminder that our planet is a closed, limited system, and that we are currently living far beyond its boundaries. What would our world look like if we actually respected and lived within our planetary boundaries? How would we organize our homes, communities, cities, and nations? To which extent can companies and brands trigger positive action and inspire changes in lifestyle, consumption and ways of working to enable the ecological transition around the world?

To understand the current and future environmental challenges, the Prospective design approach helps understanding and shaping multiple possible futures in order to design tomorrow's products, services and business models in a constantly changing world. Prospective design is emerging as a key methodological discipline in the field of strategy, renewing current approaches to risk management and innovation.  It can also promote objectives such as long-term oriented value propositions for products and services including social and environmental sustainability as core dimensions. This is why developing prospective design capabilities can represent a real strategic asset for companies to shift towards sustainable business models.

Among different prospective oriented approaches, Design fiction is increasingly used by organizations to apprehend, model and test their possible futures. By imagining the world's evolutions in 15 or 20 years and materializing them into fiction related artefacts (videos, newspapers, short novels…), design fiction makes it possible to better understand the implications and the changes that are to be enacted today to cope with future sustainability challenges. Developing new imaginaries able to mobilize consumers and businesses may speed up the process to move towards sustainable and desirable futures. Experiencing design-fiction processes triggers awareness and facilitates the exploration of new business opportunities.

Students will work in contact with futurists and designers in order to explore, experiment and create desirable futures, in the context of future-oriented design projects. Allowing each participant to imagine what
could happen tomorrow in order to generate debates today will lead to better decision-making towards a sustainable and desirable future. The ambitious objective of the course is to accompany our students in the co-construction process
of new imaginaries for sustainable futures. 
For the 2020 edition of the course, Design fiction methodologies were applied to the future of Oceans. Oceans constitute a key topic in sustainability, as they play a central role in human life, and are deeply affected by several grand challenges such as climate change, biodiversity loss and increased pollution. Over the course, students had been working in contact with futurists and designers in order to explore, experiment and create utopian or dystopian futures, in the context of future-oriented design projects. The course provided students with knowledge and a method to co-construct new imaginaries for sustainable futures. 

The next editions will be organized in partnership with an organization or a company, on a specific topic, for which the partner will provide information about the current and future trends, as well as about its own innovation challenges to succeed in a context of growing concerns for sustainability. The 2024 Paris Olympic Games may constitute a fertile context to work on (however, this opportunity is not confirmed yet). Working on real case will offer students a deep immersion in a real-time strategic decision-making process aimed at building desirable futures. The partner will also take in charge the costs related to recruiting designers, technical experts (for professional videos) and any other investments in software or other tools needed by students.  

Finally, the expected deliverables, produced by students with valuable professional support provided by design and media-technology experts during the pedagogical experience, will be diffused through social media and/or exhibited via events gathering business people and other students. The communication campaign could be a valuable asset to give visibility to the sustainable strategy and engagement of ESCP.


This is an introductory course to prospective design, namely design fiction. No pre-requisite is reqired. Priority could be given to students with some sustainability knowledge/interest.