UTDesignLabFuture stories

Future stories Storytelling concept

Over 400 people have received and played the card game 'Connecting worlds for a better future', which is a follow-up of the eponymous narrative about UT, presented at the Dutch Design Week 2022. The card game serves as a warm up for the principles of Responsible Futuring. When playing the game, users write a future story, reflect on the outcomes and define who they would need in order to realise their defined future. A selection of stories is available in our 'User Stories' repository, a booklet and in the form of audio. The illustrations that tell the stories visually can also be experienced live at DesignLab, as part of the DesignLab museum.


We are all aware of societal challenges around us, ranging from the urgency of climate change to the complexities of socio-technical developments. Addressing these multifaceted challenges calls for a joint effort from all of us. As we embark on a journey to co-shape desirable futures, the power of our collective imagination is essential. How can we co-create visions that embrace a plurality of perspectives and that motivate and inspire us? How can we open avenues that pave the way for transformative futures?

At DesignLab, we are committed to experimenting with methods and tools to foster collaboration among diverse sectors of society, and nurture our (collective) imagination. Drawing inspiration from the famous card game ‘The Thing from the Future’ by Stuart Candy, we developed our own version called ‘Connecting worlds for a better future’. Our adaptation not only prompts participants to consider the values involved in potential futures, but also encourages them to consider the roles they can embrace to pursue specific courses of action.

In our experience, we have discovered that engaging communities with creative tools is a source of inspiration. Interactive and hands-on experiences not only allow us to envision how our futures could unfold, but also make us reflect on what matters to us, recognising the agency we have in making positive societal change. From autumn until spring, we have used the game in a series of workshops and sessions that involved hundreds of people coming from different backgrounds: Dutch Design Week visitors, groups of policymakers, high-school students and researchers. Their stories all make us think about how different futures are possible, the implications of our actions and the role we want to take.

Story collection

  • Full collection Future Stories
    Visit the Responsible Futuring toolbox
    Read the stories
  • Booklet

    Click on the image to see the full version.

  • Listen to a selection of stories (🇬🇧 English)
    The zeppelin pilot
    Chef's table
    The beauty of nature
    Kids in the spotlight
    Inner antenna
  • Listen to a selection of stories (🇳🇱 Dutch)
    De zeppelin piloot
    Chef's table
    De schoonheid van de natuur
    Kinderen in de schijnwerpers
    Innerlijke antenne

What you can do

Have a cup of tea or coffee and go through all the inspiring future stories, whether it is in the form of audio, visually or by reading documents. Would you like to start storytelling and play the card game yourself? The full deck is now available and downloadable via our Responsible Futuring toolbox. You can also share the story with us and we might add it to the overview. The Responsible Futuring development team may use the stories to explain possible future scenarios within a certain societal challenge (in a workshop setting, for example).


Participants: Dutch Design Week visitors, advisers municipality of Enschede, students Greijdanus Zwollle, DesignLab team, visitors UTs Open days, students Transdisciplinary Master-Insert 'Shaping Responsible Futures', Tosti Talk audience.
Illustrations: Kim Hovestad
Narration: Dominique Jansen