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CIID: Design for Uncertain Climates (Copenhagen – September 2020)

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UN City

Marmormolen 51

2100 Copenhagen


Event description


It is increasingly clear that our organisations and projects need to be prepared for a wide range of futures. On top of rapid technological transformation, political and economic uncertainty, and global health emergencies, the climate crisis is an underlying force that will shape the next few decades. We will experience—in fact, are already experiencing—significant weather and climate changes. How can you be prepared for worst-case climate scenarios? How can you inspire a strategy that puts us on trajectories toward more resilient futures?

This intensive 3-day workshop offers an immersive introduction to using design practices to identify smart, strategic steps for resilient businesses, communities, and projects.

In this course, we’ll dig deep into the practices that designers use to bring complex, uncertain futures to life through futurescaping, visual storytelling, and prototypes. Using the context of the climate crisis, we’ll learn how to craft future stories from diverse research and scientific inputs, and how to use these stories as a common starting point for aligning stakeholders in order to identify key strategic actions that will make your work more resilient. You’ll walk away with increased confidence in your ability to facilitate a toolkit of practices and apply them to identify a path forward for your organisation or project.

Over the three days, you’ll explore inspirational case studies about services helping people adapt to climate change, create your own visual narratives, and practice using these visual props in workshop settings to build engagement and alignment. Lectures are spread throughout the workshop and are immediately followed by direct hands-on applications, with individual and group coaching along the way.


While the main focus of the course is learning to think critically and holistically, we will use a few tools and practices. Over the course of three days, we will introduce you to tools and techniques that help visualise and explore future actions. The methods are widely applicable for any complex issue where scientific information is key, future visions must be shared, and a wide variety of stakeholder input and buy-in is required.

We go deep with each practice, crafting an understanding of the underlying practice, its strengths, and how best to use it. You will come away with a stronger understanding of each practice.


  • Trend Mapping: Identify current trends and projections from both environmental science, and wider socio-economic context
  • Pattern Harvesting: Find signals of emerging trends or tipping points


  • World Building: Use research findings to craft possible future worlds
  • Climate Fiction Prototyping: Develop services, programs, products, or initiatives for these future worlds and explore their implications
  • Visual Storytelling: Develop visual stories, comics, or prototypes of these future stories to communicate with stakeholders and facilitate feedback and input
  • Back-casting: Work backward from a vision to identify next steps and key strategy for you to pursue

This course is ideal for...

Anyone responsible for creating or delivering products, services, and programs that target environmental change—sustainability managers, program managers, project managers, researchers, research scientists, analysts, and programme officers. At CIID we use these practices with environmental consultants, NGOs, civil sector groups, municipalities, private companies, and educational institutions.

Anyone who is interested in gaining tools to navigate uncertain, systemic issues. While we focus on the environment (specifically the climate crisis), participants could apply their learnings to other types of complex issues—using the practices of futuring and prototyping, together with visualisation and storytelling for complex systems.

Due to the small course size, we are able to give a lot of individual attention and support to all participants and have time to go in-depth when needed.

The course is particularly suited for multidisciplinary project teams working toward a common goal. We encourage teams to join as a group to acquire fluency in a new shared language and methodology.


Day 1:
Introduction to design and the climate crisis
Futuring: Mapping trends and signals

Day 2:
Worldbuilding: Building rich futures of possible climate-changed worlds
Visual Storytelling: Crafting comics to explore actions + implications
Prototyping: Building to bring the actions to life

Day 3:
Facilitation: Iterating with stakeholders to align visions
Emergent Thinking: Identifying powerful strategies


Francesca Desmarais, Senior Facilitator

Francesca Desmarais is an Interaction Design Lead at CIID. Across the institute, she leads professional projects with organisations and companies, teaches workshops, and is crafting new techniques to design for climate adaptation. Francesca is responsible for leading teams through a people-centred design process, driving deep research and creative prototyping, and incorporating distinctive elements like quantitative data and science into the design process. She teaches workshops in Design Research, Service Design, and Designing for Adaptation. A systems thinker and strategist, Francesca has a strong background in environmental and social design. Her passion is fusing disciplines to shape a design process that helps communities and systems adapt to climate change. Prior to joining the CIID team, she was the Strategy and Research Lead for Architecture 2030, a top U.S. think tank in low-carbon architecture. She worked as a project lead, strategist, and spokesperson and was the Director of the 2030 Challenge for Products, an innovative initiative to reduce the embodied carbon of building products.

Annelie Berner, Senior Facilitator

Annelie is an interaction designer and researcher. Together with her team in CIID Research, she runs projects that span from researching and designing tools for dialogue on sensitive topics to tools for ethical decision-making among IoT developers to designing an interactive exhibition of future energy choices. She is currently specialising in how to structure and visualise ethics in new technology, and how to imagine and create futures in collaborative and open ways. She runs workshops, creates exhibitions and tools in these areas, often integrating the medium of interactive data visualisation. She is a faculty member and researcher at CIID (Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design) where she teaches programming and data visualization.

Testimonials from previous courses

"CIID did an excellent job at creating a course that can be valuable to different levels of experience. We could take away everything from broad strokes to tips and individual techniques. I really enjoyed the examples shared, and the hands-on approach that helped us move quickly into prototyping was great. The instructors were very flexible and tailored the content to our needs."
– Senior Experience Designer, Wolff Olins

Cancellation and refund policy

  • Cancellations must be made in writing by email to If you are unable to attend, a substitute delegate is welcome at no extra charge. Please provide the name and title of the substitute delegate at least 3 working days before the first day of the programme.
  • A full refund minus 10% administrative charge will be made for cancellation received 2 weeks (10 days) before the course. No refund will be made for cancellation after that.
  • “No shows” during event days are not considered cancellations. In this instance payment will not be returned.
  • CIID reserves the right to postpone or cancel the workshop for any reason up to 3 weeks prior to the workshop date. In the case of postponement, participants will have a choice to retain their ticket for a later date or to be reimbursed in full. Participants are advised to not purchase travel/accommodation until 3 weeks before the workshop.
  • Pricing is subject to change and the current ticket prices are as shown on this Eventbrite page.

Payment by invoice is possible – in that case please contact before purchasing.


Find more workshops on the CIID Professional Programmes page.

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Date and Time


UN City

Marmormolen 51

2100 Copenhagen


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