DIVE (see Fig. 1) “consists of a quick dive into the depths of speculative futures and a swim back to the world as it is”4.
The exercise started with a kick-off meeting with the company representatives from Oceanco, who act as problem owners, and external professional designers from the Service Design Studio in Oslo, Norway, as process owners. During the exercise, problem owners provided information about the company, acting as “experts of their own experience”5, while process owners collected, organised and analysed that information, and lead the series of activities. Facilitators from the Delft University of Technology (the Netherlands), and Leipzig University (Germany), gave the problem and process owners (the participants) an abbreviated theoretical background on DIVE and provided instructions for the activities described in Figure 1.
In ‘Activity 1: Understanding the present’, the participants used the ‘Strategic PES – Product-Experience-Service’, a visual tool that applies the metaphor of a fish to analyse SMEs, applied in this case to get an overview of Oceanco. Viewing the company as a living being “facilitates a strategic conversation between designers and entrepreneurs and allows the measurement of areas of reflection in a visual way”6. It also helps participants distance themselves from the company and remove pre-conceptions. The fish is divided into four parts: the company’s know-how (the head), the market that steers the company (the tail), the company’s infrastructure (the back), and the portfolio of products and services (the belly). This is used to set a domain, an area of exploration, and a time frame for how far this exploration goes.
As part of the ‘Activity 2: Approaching the future’, the process owners, together with the problem owners, conducted a brief investigation to gather trends and drivers within the selected domain to make a shared vision of the future.
Using this vision as an inspiration, in ‘Activity 3: Exploring the future’, the process owners made different mock-ups and created stories to develop and select diverse ideas.
In ‘Activity 4: Communicating the future’, the process owners polished the final mock-up and story to share the vision concepts (concept products, services or product service systems) in the form of a short video.
Finally, in ‘Activity 5: Looking back into the future’, the process owners used the short video to spark a conversation among problem owners and external experts in design-driven innovation about the future of the company, supporting the decision-making process in the present. During this conversation, the process owners plotted a roadmap in which different ideas and concepts were organised along the time frame selected in Activity 2.
After all the activities, which took three consecutive days to complete, facilitators led a ‘closing meeting’ to collect final thoughts and feedback about the technique. In addition, the process owners delivered the videos of the vision concepts and the roadmap to the problem owners. As part of their role as process owners, the external designers used a toolkit (see Fig. 2) throughout the process.