Identifying functions and characters for science fiction prototyping

Fletcher, G ORCID:, Greenhill, A, Griffiths, M ORCID: and McLean, R 2013, Identifying functions and characters for science fiction prototyping , in: British Academy of Management Annual Conference, 10-12 September 2013, Aintree Racecourse, Liverpool.

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The use of Science Fiction Prototypes (SFP) for policy, business and community organisation forecasting and planning is an increasingly popular approach. Examples of recent use of this technique can be found among individuals and organisations such as futurologists (Johnson), research communities (Creative Sciences, a British Academy of Management workshop in February 2013), government departments (The UK’s Department of Transport) and science fiction writers (Sean Jones, Gary Graham and Geoff Nelder). Recent special calls for papers by journals such as Futures and Technological Forecasting and Social Change document the breadth and potential of current SFP applications. Current usage of this approach utilises science fiction - and speculative fiction - to elicit audience participation with the imagining and description of future possibilities around a specified topic or subject area. This technique is also being actively extended by its proponents to incorporate the use of video (Light, 2011). This paper examines the themes and perspectives utilised in science fiction and other forms of speculative writing to present an overview of available functions and character types to develop further usable prototypes. The analytical approach we adopt is inspired by Propp’s formal analysis of repeating functions in Russian literature and Altshuller’s systematic review of regular patterns found within Russian patent applications. Revealing the common functions, characters and inter-linkages found in science fiction writing provides a generalised applicability of SFP to business planning as well as providing clear examples of the forms and purpose of stories that can be drawn upon for SFP workshops.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Schools: Schools > Salford Business School
Journal or Publication Title: British Academy of Management Annual Conference
Publisher: British Academy of Management
Related URLs:
Funders: Non funded research
Depositing User: Gordon Fletcher
Date Deposited: 21 Dec 2015 14:05
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2022 17:32

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