Sam Ward

Institute for the Future foresight maps

It's not everyday you get to help build a crystal ball. The Institute for the Future works with industry, government, and nonprofits to produce strategic foresight around topics like healthcare, technology, and education.
IFTF frequently publishes their research in the form of print 'maps' that illustrate the major trends driving the future. IFTF and Supereverywhere brought me on as UX designer to bring their maps into the digital space, where they could become living entities rather than static artifacts. We provided discovery research, experience briefs, and visual design to IFTF, who then partnered with their technical vendor for development and launch.
We designed the platform that building maps can be a collaborative process. Users can annotate and expand on them as their vision for the future evolves. This design makes the maps more conversational and fluid - rather than reflecting a single static moment in time.
I recommended using the powerful visualization library D3 to power the map engine. Users have the option of selecting different chart types, depending the type of data being displayed in the map, so each map becomes a unique expression of IFTF’s vision of the future, and the trends driving it.