In the beginning of July we teamed up with Luke Sturgeon from Greyspace Studio to bring a brand new futures workshop to Moscow and the Design Thinking Camp hosted by Wonderfull Lab.

This three day event featured speakers from all over the world. On day two, John presented “Service Design Principles & Data Driven Cities” – our perspective on how service design should apply to create better experiences in the age of the smart city.

John presents “Service Design Principles & Data Driven Cities” on day two of the conference.

Standout talks through the event included Arne Van Oosterom from DT Group in Amsterdam – who highlighted from the outset that the buzzwords and innovation diagrams of our practice are perhaps not really all that helpful.

Later, Katja Tschimmel took on Natasha Jen’s infamous 2018 talk “Design Thinking is Bullshit”. Design, she says, is a “great cognitive process for problem identification and solving” – this is right at the heart of what we do at Context Studio.

We firmly believe that the “thinking” is only 10% of the work… we can only create change through research, and most importantly, prototyping, testing and iteration.

Other highlights included incredible imagined space settlements from Stanford, brought to us by Natalia Pulyavina. And Oliver Kempkens shone a light on the difference between individual and organisational thinking – and the strengths and weaknesses of each.

Passes to view all of the talks are potentially still available as you read this.

Teams use impact analysis tools to understand what future trends mean for their businesses. This was one activity in out workshop “Visualising Disruption”.
Teams review their work during our futures thinking workshop at the DT Camp – safe in the hands of Luke Sturgeon from Greyspace Studio.

Together with Greyspace Studio we ran a very successful futures thinking workshop – and it ended, as only we could… with a call to action. The thinking highlights the opportunities, and then it’s time to act.

While Design Thinking is feeling a backlash… it was clear from the contributions of speakers and the energy in the workshops that there is enthusiasm for this way of working. The combination of research, thinking, and prototyping is the key. Doing just one or two of the three is never enough.

Huge thanks must go to the fantastic team at Wonderfull Lab, everyone who welcomed us to Moscow, and the lovely friends we made there. Hopefully we can return again soon!