1st Edition

Designing Sustainable Futures How to Imagine, Create, and Lead the Transition to a Better World

By Joseph Press, Manuela Celi Copyright 2025
    204 Pages 88 Color Illustrations
    by Routledge

    204 Pages 88 Color Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This decisive decade demands more inspired and informed practitioners who can use positive futures to rebalance the present. This book is a thought-provoking approach to imagine, create, and lead the journey to a more sustainable world – where a spectrum of choices including regenerative practices await conscientious citizens, companies and communities.

    With an objective to help reverse the megatrends of economic disparity, social injustice, and climate change, Institute for The Future (IFTF) and the Design Department of the Politecnico di Milano came together to prototype a way to prepare all practitioners who seek to leverage the future to infuse our present with more agency. Guided by global experts and inspired by a growing network of future-makers, the authors share essential insights from this emerging landscape, offering thought-provoking theory, innovative experiments, real-world experiences, and practitioner stories. Drawing on contemporary theories and practices, including strategic foresight, experiential futures, speculative design, design fiction, systems design, participatory design, and transformative leadership, and an emerging entry with genAI- augmented design.

    Regardless of whether you have a design or management background, or want to create a for-profit or non-profit, this book enables professionals across industries, as well as students preparing for a career in strategy, innovation, or transformation, the knowledge, skills, and confidence to strengthen resilience and guide the transition to the more sustainable practices of a better world.

    Forward, by Sohail Inayatullah. Preface. Introduction. PART I: Anticipate Better Futures. Chapter 1: Experiencing Foresight. Chapter 2: Speculating Futures. Chapter 3: Generating Visions. PART II: Create Sustainable Experiences. Chapter 4: Building Worlds. Chapter 5: Shaping Systems. Chapter 6: Fictionalizing Designs. PART III: Lead the Transition. Chapter 7: Cultivating Collaboration. Chapter 8: Making Stories. Chapter 9: Mobilizing Leadership. Afterward: Designing Your Sustainable Future. Acknowledgements. Author and Faculty Profiles. Appendices: I: Anticipating Futures with AI (Cheat Sheet). II: Futureback Leadership. Bibliography



    Joseph Press, PhD, is a Futures Architect at Institute for the Future and Visiting Professor at Politecnico di Milano. For over 25 years, he advise organizations in imagining, designing and implementing more sustainable practices. He holds a PhD from MIT and prepares the next generation of changemakers teaching at the Politecnico di Milano. At POLI.design, he co-lead the pilot program Designing Sustainable Futures and convened the creative community for the Designing with Emerging Technologies global seminar series. He has co-authored books on digital transformation, futures of working & living, and social entrepreneurialism. As co-founder of MakeOurFuture, he actively assists organizations in the transition to a better world.

    Professor Manuela Celi holds a Design PhD and is Associate Professor at Politecnico di Milano. Engaged in the Design PhD Board and Rectors’ delegate for talent development, she navigates diverse sectors by delving into the multifaceted realms of design-related knowledge. Proficient in teaching Product Design, Metadesign and Design Futures, she leads the FUEL4Design.org research project, merging design with humanities and speculative inquiry. Prof. Celi's insights, showcased in renowned journals like Futures and The Design Journal, manifest her fusion of anticipation with critical design, offering unusual perspectives for envisioning transformative futures.