Fictional Entrepreneurship (Business Design Fiction) takes what is expected of the future, and turns it on it’s head in order to change the ways in which we understand the world, and the way we understand the future of business design. Fictional Entrepreneurship is a method of story-telling through imagining new business and a tool to help imagine new innovations within the business industry in order to craft the culture of the future, or critique the culture of the present.
The design of fictional business can accomplish more than the design or growth of any non-fictional business. Business is an industry that is extremely limited by practicality due to the interest of investors, demographics, and financial matters. The desire for efficiency and viability is a hindrance on the creativity of an entrepreneur, and the ability for an entrepreneur to define our future. Fictional Entrepreneurship, on the other hand, requires no investment of money, only the investment of imagination.
Fictional Entrepreneurship not only has the ability to imagine what future businesses might look like, or be capable of through their products, but also has the ability to define what our future culture is, and, even more so, the future of our world.
The other day I made a post defining Fictional Entrepreneurship and spoke about it as a method for entrepreneurs. This post aims to continue that thread, highlighting the possible applications of Fictional Entrepreneurship as a tool for graphic designers.
If all of us designers, especially brand identity specialists, take a moment and think back at the best client work we have done, or some of the best brand work we have seen on the internet, it is clear that the success of that project’s design is directly tied to the client. Let’s face it – a really interesting client such as a pastry shop that caters only to bulldogs will result in a piece of design that is (often times) much more interesting and intriguing to outside viewers than your average identity for a an average business.
I would like to argue that it is not necessarily the designer’s style, typeface selection, or color combination that makes a client project thrive, but instead the creativity within the client’s business plan. Interesting business and creative entrepreneurship inspires strong design work that breaks new grounds within the field of design.
Designing as a fictional entrepreneur allows artists to dream up the most bizarre and innovative business plans, and use them as a tool for making. Instead of waiting for that AWESOME client to come knocking on your door, be the client. Doing so will allow a designer to contribute to critical discourse within the field of business, proving that design thinking is the most prominent approach to innovative business. As skilled design-thinkers, we have developed a strong eye for understanding visual trends, realizing the psychology behind our experiences, and defining new culture through the innovation of unseen niches within our industry. These skills are what makes a designer a powerful driving force for entrepreneurial endeavors.
Inspired heavily by my time in the Media Design Program at Art Center, an article by Julian Bleecker of Near Future Laboratory, and “MADE UP,” an exhibition I am helping to put on at Art Center – I have positioned myself and my academic work into the genre of design fiction in order to act as a catalyst for a more specific position I am working on crafting within the “constellation” of design.
Design is about the future in a way similar to science fiction. It probes imaginatively and materializes ideas, the way science fiction materializes ideas, oftentimes through stories. What are the ways that all of these things — these canonical ways of making and remaking and imagining the world — can come together in a productive way, without hiding the details and without worrying about the nonsense of strict disciplinary boundaries? – Julian Bleecker
Inspired by this re-emerging field within design academia, I have created a more specific genre – “fictional entrepreneurship,” or “business design fiction.” The following is a definition of this new field I have written:
Fictional Entrepreneurship is the use of design fiction to imagine businesses in order to discover what could be, creating things that are not impossible, but possible, often times derived from utopian, theoretical, and philosophical principles. Fictional entrepreneurship aims to author critical media through the creation of enterprises (imaginary, and real).
While reflecting on this definition, I have come to the conclusion that this concept is in no ways limited within the walls of academia, but can also be executed within a “practical,” corporate culture for the following reasons.
- Fictional Entrepreneurship is the design of business that begins with “what if…” in order to innovate the unimaginable.
- Fictional Entrepreneurship is an approach to business design which can serve as a tool for reaching new, almost impossible, demographics.
- Fictional Entrepreneurship is a a method that can be used by entrepreneurs to imagine the potential impact (good or bad) their business design can have on the world.
- Fictional Entrepreneurship is the ability to make the impractical practical.
- Fictional Entrepreneurship uses aspects of Design Fiction in order to work imaginatively while creating products and services that are not impossible, but possible.
This column will be dedicated to the evolution of this new field’s definition, the cultivation of fictional business, and the showcasing of “real-life” fictional entrepreneurship.