Book Series Merges Real-World Data with Speculative Design to Ignite Critical Thinking and Creativity
Helsinki, 02 May 2023 The Geist Institute, an independent published based in Helsinki, is launching a book series for designers, researchers, and entrepreneurs by fusing cultural analysis, experience criteria, and speculative futures within vividly imagined fictional territories. The series takes readers on a journey through the lives of representative characters and societies, offering a unique perspective on the interplay between aggregated data, human experience and design.
Sérgio Tavares, PhD, the editor of the book series and managing designer in global creative consultancy frog, said, "Our goal is to stimulate critical thinking and spark creativity in addressing current and emerging societal challenges. We've combined real-world data, cultural analysis, and imaginative storytelling to create an innovative platform for exploring these complex issues."
The series begins by presenting an "aggregated present," a fictional territory formed by real-world countries based on their cultural and socio-economic affinities. The continent's demographic, economic, and psychographic profiles are created using aggregated data from the constituent countries. "These clusters, based on multidimensional criteria, were clustered by artificial intelligence. The selection ended up by many affinities, mostly defined by the countries' level of development, economic growth, freedom and democracy".
A gallery of life-like characters
Each book introduces characters — simulations of citizens living within these fictional continents. The characters' demographics, social status, and psychographic profiles are based on the continent's median attributes and outliers. "The book shouldn't explore detrimental profiling. Instead, a gallery is presented with an impressive immersion effect. They feel real, and empathy kicks in. If someone can feel empathy for an entirely alien world, is it too much to ask for empathy for the people on which this world is based upon?", says the editor.
Tavares explains, "The 'Experience Criteria' section delves into the personnage's life experiences, exploring the unique ways in which they navigate their world." The idea, according to the editor, is to create "design personas" with sophisticated backgrounds and complexities, reflecting real demographics and psychographics of different cultures. "The whole point is to create personas that the read can fall in love with".
Business cases and strategic consultancy practices
This analysis is followed by an examination of the "Strategic Ecosystems" in each continent, providing insight into the companies, systems, and economic indicators that operate within each area of experience. This type of data is used routinely by management consultants, like the ones Tavares works in. "My goal was to take part of these frameworks, common in any consultancy, and bring it upfront to those studying cultural phenomena". The purpose is to help researchers, designers and entrepreneurs to structure their ideas with a more solid financial, economical and structural ground.
In the "Pivotal Facts, Speculative Futures" segment, the books introduce a fictional event that dramatically alters the social fabric of the continent, leading to dystopian and utopian counterparts. Readers will witness how the personnage's life unfolds in response to these pivotal facts, exploring their journey through change and adaptation.
The series concludes by envisioning a "Preferred Future" and offers insights into how we can influence the path towards this future, fostering a more self-aware and proactive society. The content of the series is the result of a unique collaborative effort between authors, researchers, and artificial intelligence, and there is a patent pending on the book's innovative structure.
Tavares adds, "We believe this book series will inspire readers to engage with the world around them and envision a better future."
About the Publisher
Geist is an independent publisher based in Helsinki, dedicated to producing thought-provoking content that bridges the gap between culture, technology, and the human experience. By combining real-world data and creative storytelling, we strive to inspire readers to engage with the world around them and envision a better future.