how fiction shapes innovation

and vice-versa…

just a call for ideas, really. I’m talking next week to a group of budding architects and designers in Italy about Innovation and visions of our future (thanks to Massimiano Bucchi for the invitation)

The idea is to get them thinking about how fictional images can influence future design ambitions and help shape new technologies, and how this is a two-way street.

I’m just in proces of turning a list of things to say into a talk, and any examples of stories which – deliberately/pedagogically, or simply incidentally – seem relevant would be extremely welcome. I’m particularly interested in recent ones which do this with intent, as it were. This 2009 Madeline Ashby story from Worldchanging seems an interesting case study, for instance. I could say a lot more but will spend the time instead trying to get my thoughts in some sort of order for the gig.

Any other good (or bad) ones?

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3 Comments on “how fiction shapes innovation”


  1. In one of the extra videos on the Blade Runner DVD, Ridley Scott talks about how they stuck pipes and fittings on the buildings to make a standard backlot set look futuristic, mainly to save money. Apparently, Richard Rogers later told Scott that this was a direct inspiration for the Pompidou Centre and similar buildings.

  2. Oliver Says:

    @steve: has to be wrong. Pompidou centre designed in the early 1970s, Bladerunner in filmed in the early 1980s

    Various trekker examples: clamshell phones had an obvious reference to ST communicators that resonated with users even if not an overt plan by designers. Automatic doors also more routinely visualised in star trek than anywhere else before their eventual introduction.

    Bruce Franklin’s “War Stars” is excellent on the general ways in which the fiction of superweaponry has made space for the reality. There’s also Tom Disch’s “The dreams our stuff is made of” http://bit.ly/1e2jaQ

  3. jonturney Says:

    Yes, I liked Disch’s book – in fact I like all his books, even the poetry!
    And my mobile is definitely Star Trek style, even though that now seems slightly outmoded, so I had to whip it out during the talk…


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