Cecilia Padula and Silvia Barbero
In 2009, the literary critic Brian Boyd offered the first comprehensive account of the evolutionary origins of storytelling. According to his theoretical framework, humans respond to the selective pressures of their environment by expanding their repertoire of social behavioural responses through storytelling. This article, as part of ongoing doctoral research, advocates speculative fabulation as an understudied explorative approach to co-design accessing stakeholders’ experience, enabling feedback loops, and subsequently facilitating a “worlding” activity toward societal cultural transitions. The aim of this study is to investigate and conceptualise speculative fabulation within the co-design process as an analysis (i.e., problematising) method to societal transitions.
The qualitative research builds on the work of philosophers Donna Haraway, Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari on speculative fabulation, Elizabeth Sanders on generative research, Mitrovic and Šuran, Dunne and Raby on speculative design, Göbel’s work on systems model to story analysis and Greimas semiotics. Bridging these bodies of literature is novel and allows us to envision implications for further strands of design research. The suggested framework contributes to conceptualising speculative co-fabulation within systemic design and may be useful for future implementations in academia and practice toward societal transitions.