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Introduction to Design-driven Foresight

The future is not what it used to be.

The field of foresight - our ability to predict or anticipate future events, trends, and developments - is changing. Traditional methods of observing industry and consumer behaviour patterns no longer work, as the mechanisms producing the patterns are becoming unpredictable due to climate heating. Instead, foresight has to be grounded on possibilities (what there is) and innovative thinking (what might be). Design-Driven Foresight combines these two lines of action.

By completing this course you will earn an Aalto University certificate, demonstrating your attainment of micro-credentials.

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Learning outcomes

This course provides an overview of the changing landscape of foresight, design and their intersection with sustainability. Through self-paced online materials, the participants will study the key characteristics of Design-Driven Foresight, learn how to work with foresight key components, as well as how to anticipate future trends and developments through innovative thinking.

After completing the course, you will:

  • Be able to define the key characteristics of design-driven foresight
  • Know how to work with foresight key components such as drivers and look-and-feel samples
  • Be able to confidently and with excitement enter the design-driven foresight process.


The Introduction to Design-Driven Foresight course introduces you to the key characteristics of Design-Driven Foresight, and sheds light on the timeliness and importance of this method in the current state of the world. You’ll explore the possibilities of foresight and sustainability through self-paced online materials, during which you will:

Learn about impactful design-driven foresight
Learn how to apply commercial trend intelligence in your work and in your field
Learn about uncompromising sustainable material development

Introduction to the Course

As part of the course, you’ll be walked through a real-life example of Design-Driven Foresight in action. As an example of foresight in action, you’ll explore how a particular trend is translated into uncompromisingly sustainable physical look-and-feel samples. You’ll also learn about the evolving role of designers as strategic decision-makers and builders of shamelessly impactful visions of a sustainable future.


This course is well-suited for a diverse array of individuals eager to explore the intersection of design and foresight in shaping a more sustainable future. More specifically, this course is highly beneficial for:

  • Professionals in design-intensive fields who want to learn or update their knowledge about foresight work
  • Professionals who make strategic decisions in any design-intensive field
  • Designers interested in the development of sustainable materials
  • Individuals interested in design and its impact.

Program Structure

The course consists of short videos, texts, and assignments. The course is divided into three modules that each focus on a specific topic. The language of the course is English, and the estimated study time is 27 hours equivalent to 1 ECTS. You have the flexibility to navigate the course at your own pace.

Core modules:

  • Module 1: Design-Driven Foresight
  • Module 2: Impact with Foresight
  • Module 3: Translating a Trend


Heidi Paavilainen

Senior University Lecturer, Department of Design, Aalto University

Heidi Paavilainen has a master’s degree in textile design and doctoral degree in industrial design. Her MA thesis studied foresight as a platform for collaborative knowledge creation, and in her doctoral research she studied domestication of design. Dr Paavilainen has been teaching design-driven foresight for over a decade in Aalto University for master’s degree students. Her approach to foresight is strategic rather than commercial: foresight is a way to make an impact, not only in the fields of fashion and design but everywhere. 

Eeva Raitio

Project Specialist, Department of Design, Aalto University

Eeva Raitio has a master’s degree in industrial design. Raitio has worked as a CMF (colours, materials, finishes) designer in product development programmes as well as led future CMF innovation projects, creating tangible executions and translations of trends through the exploration of colours and material design and new technology solutions.

In her role as Trend Specialist, she has led and contributed to design trend scouting and analysis studies, providing in-depth understanding and implications of the evolution of existing trends and knowledge of emerging trends in the industry together with knowledge of emerging trends in visual culture and design relevant to the industry in question. She has 17 years' experience in the consumer electronics industry. Raitio is currently a freelancer and a visiting lecturer at Aalto University.

Program Fee and Registration

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