Case Study: Imagine Future of Jobs
A masters research project dealing with the design of a learning experience about the speculative future of jobs for the next generation.
Imagine future of jobs is a masters research project developed by Wongsathon Choonhavan in collaboration with Daphne Gerodimou, two students from the Master in Design for Emergent Futures, Organised by IAAC, Elisava and Fab Lab Barcelona. This project focuses on how to educate the next generation to face the unpredictable future jobs situation using imagination and Speculative Design practice. The project was also exhibited at 2021 Dutch Design Week.
In the past, jobs didn’t change much. Jobs such as police officers or teachers have existed our whole life. But in the near future, jobs will change faster. A report from the World Economic Forum tells us that by one estimate, 65% of children entering primary school today will ultimately end up working in completely new job types that don’t yet exist. The jobs market of 2026 will likely look quite different from today’s career landscape, so the next generation must be focused and prepared for this future career situation.
At the same time, in the past there were various ways to educate children about the professions they could do when they grow up. But if the jobs in the future change very rapidly and the professional landscape becomes more and more unstable, what will career education tools for the next generation look like?
After some research, we found that “adapting ourselves with creativity” is the essential point to growing up in an unpredictable future. So we designed a learning process using this essential point. The learning process includes four steps: 1) change perception, 2) imagine a future job, 3) role play, 4) future skills. Then we transformed the learning process into four executions for users in different situations.
Workshop: Imagine the future of jobs with a magic machine
This workshop aims to facilitate children in reflecting on their skills and passions in view of imagining interdisciplinary futures concerning their professional identities. The workshop consists of a series of creative activities through which the participants are encouraged to use their imagination in order to speculate about future professional identities in a futuristic “think outside the box” manner. This process includes designed prompts like the passion map template and the future worlds catalogue designed to trigger their imagination and help them initiate their own personal speculative scenarios that reflect their individual skills and interests. The “one day scenario” template serves as a creative guide aimed to help them organise their thoughts and hence start constructing a more refined view of a possible future identity. Finally, the last part of the workshop is “making a magic machine for your future job”, an activity that allows for hands-on experimentation and unfiltered creativity which facilitates children in unlocking their imaginative barriers and thinking outside of current professional paradigms.
Reflections from the kids:
“I hadn’t realised I could combine some of my passions, step out of my comfort zone and be creative. I really enjoyed it!” (Nabilah)
“I liked the idea of making something because we don’t do that a lot. I like to craft and make things so it was cool because I could build something I can imagine using. I thought it was a really cool idea.” (Amaya)
Our aim was to scale the learning process into something that the users can make individually in their own free time. So we designed this paper collage as a toy that helps kids to speculate about the future of jobs. Collage techniques can ignite imagination and enable creativity in children by making unexpected combinations in a playful way. The toy’s function is to provide children with the ability to adapt themselves in a variety of fantastic future worlds by using different sticker components and nourishing their imagination in the process.
We tested it with users. Everyone enjoyed playing with it. Older kids can follow instructions perfectly but the job result is too realistic, whereas younger children don’t want to follow instructions (they don’t want to think about a future jobs title) but the result is surreal and full of imagination.
A new way to inspire kids to imagine future jobs by collecting the results from workshops and collage toys. Then we visualised the result as futuristic job concept figure toys. We also collected job concepts in an Instagram account. Through the Gachapon, children are directed to the IG account when they can discover these imaginative future profiles and trigger their curiosity about the future and their own future professional possibilities.
The Gachapon aims to inspire children about the future of jobs and raise awareness in the next generation who haven’t thought or are scared to think about the future. When they open it they find a piece of paper. To know more about these jobs they simply scan the QR code on the paper, and it links to information on an Instagram account called “Jobs from the Future”.
“Jobs from the Future” IG Account
This has the same purpose as Gachapon but in a digital form. The Instagram account works as a collection of all the different future jobs results from the workshops and toys. We use the results to make posts in this account, then tag kids who are the owners of future job ideas to make them feel good about their ideas and see their ideas in a tangible way, as well as making them enjoy sharing the content with their friend group or community. It will inspire other kids and make them motivated to create future jobs that they like. We give them the opportunity to be anything in this space.
We found that people who are interested in this topic come to offer conversation and discuss the post where we tag the kid (the owner of the job idea). We saw an opportunity for our platform to be a small community that connects the future jobs orientation with the next generation.
- The report (WEF)
- Are You Ready for the Rise of “Hybrid” Jobs?
- Career education that works: an economic analysis using the British Cohort Study
- Ikigai methodology
Wongsathon Choonhavan is a designer from Thailand who enjoys solving educational issues in a creative way. He recently graduated from the Master in Design for Emergent Futures (IAAC, ELISAVA).
Daphne Gerodimou is an architect, designer and researcher from Athens, Greece. She recently graduated from the Master in Design for Emergent Futures (IAAC,ELISAVA).