Designing for desirable visions: pitfalls and challenges

A written contribution to the « Sens Fiction » exhibition that took place in Lille in 2020.

« Design can easily produce desirable imaginary visions that concretely engender nothing desirable. To go beyond this, it needs a new philosophy, which itself would be part of a political vision. It’s about awakening to the responsibilities that accompany the power of this practice, but not simply this, because everyone these days says that they are responsible. It’s more about questioning the outcomes and co-producing other outcomes (in a real situation, with the stakeholders involved), while mastering the path forward, to avoid the eternal commercial take-over, and leaving the field open to appropriations and re-uses. It’s about liberating the field from its sponsors, without working far beyond its purview. »

Read the full text >>

Interview: Design, and mobilising and rejuvenating future imaginaries

For the Speculative Edu community and website, James Auger talks with Daniel Kaplan about the Plurality University initiative and design’s relation to future imaginaries.

« Dystopias are easily crafted (just push one characteristic of today’s world to an extreme), while utopias need to rethink a lot of things – meaning that probably, dystopias and utopias are not exact opposites… »


« Fiction helps to broaden the initial set of thinkable futures from which public debate or decision-making will start (imagine if the preparation for COP32 started with a much, much broader set of stories to pick from); it has the potential to “shift expectations” (I took that from an artist whose name I’ve forgotten), creating a different kind of public opinion pressure; it provides spaces for mental simulations of different alternatives, that allow for more complex thinking than, say, “models”, and that take subjectivity into account, allowing people to project themselves into it rather than thinking about it in abstract ways; it provides spaces for discussion where nobody can be said to “know” … »

Read the full interview >>


Next-Generation Innovation


« When it comes to innovation classification, I’ve seen nothing better and more useful than Bpifrance’s and FING’s Next Generation Innovation. »
Seth Grimes, Business Analytics Strategist

« Next-Generation Innovation » is a framework for recognizing and supporting innovation in the XXIst century, aimed in particular towards public agencies who fund innovation. One of its role is to  make it easier to support business model innovations, social innovations, and in general, innovations that do not rest on technological breakthroughs.

> Download the book (.pdf)

Introduction by Paul-François Fournier (Bpifrance) and Daniel Kaplan (Fing):

To more fully appreciate the existing scope of innovative potential, Bpifrance has joined forces with the Next Generation Internet Foundation (Fing), and assembled a group of entrepreneurs and key innovation stakeholders. Clusters, entrepreneurial networks, administrative regions, researchers, investors, and a dozen startups…many have responded to our call.

Lire la suite »

Future Thinking: Digital Disruptions, « Promises »


« The digital world has never been short of promises. And why should it be ? Promises develop imagination, generate and guide action. Some of the former promises of the digital era now make us smile, some are still topical… So what promises could we make, and believe in enough to act upon them, for tomorrow ? »

In 2012, under the direction of Fing, more than 350 people interacted online and through workshops in Amsterdam, Marseilles and Paris in order to collectively explore the « Digital Disruptions » that will become central during the coming years – and begin to conceive of ways to anticipate them. Discover the outcome of their work !

Digital Privacy Revisited – To Protect and to Project

couvprivacyDaniel Kaplan
Fyp Editions, 2010

> Available as eBook (Kindle)

> Paper in ReadWriteWeb: « To Protect and to Project: Another Take on Digital Privacy » (October 2012)

Never before in our networked societies has the subject of personal data and privacy protection been so hotly debated. And never have so many methods been employed to capture and use personal data. Never have there been so many that have published so much about themselves online…
Paradox? Lack of awareness? Hypocrisy? Or emergence of a new way to defend and exercise freedom, which we protect only in order to better project ourselves towards others, to the world?

“The value of privacy is that it enables us to go public!”

This book offers new keys to understanding the relationship between computer science, freedom, privacy and identity. It proposes to replace a defensive approach to identity and privacy with a strategic approach. The aim is to share powerful technology, and equip individuals to the same degree as the services and organizations that want to learn more about them.
The book explores new avenues, new tools, sometimes new rights, to grant privacy its true value: the ability to choose and control one’s public life.

Open Public Data: Then What?

In the Open Knowldege International Blog, Daniel Kaplan, Director of Fing (the Next-Generation Internet Foundation, France), explores three possible futures for Open Public Data, and suggests ways to ensure that we are moving in the best direction
(January 31, 2011)

« We tend to assume that the opening up of public data will only produce positive outcomes for individuals, for society and the economy. But the opposite may be true. We should start thinking further ahead on the possible consequences of releasing public data, and how we can make sure they are mostly positive. »

> Part 1: 3 scenarios for the future of Open Public Data

> Part 2: Maximizing potential and avoiding pitfalls

Open Data: The dominant, happy story


The dark story of Open Public Data


Data Fatigue: Failing to engage