With a volatile economy and perceived indeterminate futures, Japanese companies are being forced by circumstances to change the way they recruit university graduates. One particular recruitment strategy currently being promoted at companies is to ask applicants to present a future strategy for the company. Unfortunately, Japanese universities are not preparing students to carefully analyse and strategise perceptions of the future leaving students poorly equipped to conceptualise alternative future possibilities and dangers. Given this background, one Multimedia Communication course at a techno- logy university in Japan adopted a Futures Studies & Thinking approach. The aim was to provide Complex Systems students (n=79) with a theory driven Futures Toolbox to design and present digitally enabled futures images (DEFI) of their university. The 15-week, 45-hour core course was split into explicitly teaching a Futures Studies Toolbox which included the Futures Triangle Analysis (FTA), scenario building, SWOT analysis, backcasting and Lasswells’ Communication Formula, in conjunction with practical multimedia skills such as movie editing and enhanced Podcast development. The context of all activities was Futures University 2020. Futures-oriented sub themes were structured around a STEEPV model: Societal contribution; Technology use; Environment; Educational philosophy; Politics and people; Values that underlie the university. The challenge was how to communicate new ideas, derived from strategically applying the Futures Toolbox, in a creative, innovative way. Student teams were provided with an iPod Touch. Two iPod Touch applications in particular were used to develop the presentations: Strip Designer and StoryKit. These linked to students’ previously created photos and Podcasts synchronized on each iPod Touch. The students added text and recorded voice-overs to support their futures images. The originality of this paper resides firstly in the synergies produced by combining Futures Studies as praxis with the creation of digitally enabled futures images (DEFI), and secondly in the critical and self-reflexive nature of the unit of analysis: the Future University itself, whose very name, and cultural contexts, have not been critically examined before by its students.
|Keywords:||Futures Studies, Image Of The Future (Theory), Communication Formula, Value Ecologies, Digitally Enabled Futures Images, DEFI, Futures Film, iPod Touch, New Media Technologies, Complex Systems, Creatives, Employment, 2020|
Professor, Department of Media Architecture, Future University Hakodate, Hakodate, Hokkaido, Japan
Associate Professor, Department of Media Architecture, Future University Hakodate, Hakodate, Hokkaido, Japan
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