Playfully Creating Products (And Running Wild)

The FutureDeck — developed in 2015 by GEElab director, Dr Steffen P Walz, originally under the moniker Deck Future Australia — is a social „What If?“ card game and, sneakily, a playful, speculative, 'brain-juggling' innovation tool that lets you invent, and dream of, convergent products for this prosperous, prospective world. The FutureDeck is available for purchase via playfuturedeck.com.
Shaking up growth areas from Deloitte's Building the Lucky Country report with key technologies and impacts — amongst the latter, albeit on a less serious note: Zombies!, Beauty, Armageddon, and select political leaders — this card game can help playfully spawn as well as challenge the next level of creative ideas, against your set of objectives, whilst assessing how ethical the outcomes might be. The FutureDeck can also be used to create absolutely ridiculous and silly endeavours with your new business or product, movie plot, fashion item or party theme – if that feels like a better pastime for the future.

The FutureDeck in brief

  • Endorsed by Deloitte Centre for the Edge Australia and flanked by research from RMIT University’s GEElab and other sources.
  • Playfully, seeks to inspire entrepreneurial, out-of-the-box, critical, reflective mindsets, to create headapace and 'brain juggling', and to facilitate for a fun (and oftentimes, silly) group and/or duo player activity to systematically (and by way of systems), to invent new possible, probable, plausible and impossible products.
  • Next to default rule sets, invites players to create own game rules, topics, objectives and futures.
  • Tried and tested audiences include e.g. design and technology conference participants & organizers; students & educators; research & innovation leaders in organizations; university program leaders  managing programs concerned with business modeling, design and up-and-coming technologies; entrepreneurs, inventors and start-ups; creative, entertainment and IT industry representatives, as well as creative agencies; journalists writing about design and technology; and everyone caring about our futures. That should be ... YOU!

Press about the FutureDeck

Who is playing with the FutureDeck?

Organizations from around the world are using the FutureDeck already and/or have held FutureDeck-based workshops and play sessions with Steffen and colleagues, including these:
  • Deloitte Centre for the Edge Australia & Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Australia;
  • the University of St. Gallen's Executive School, Switzerland; 
  • KornFerry / Airbus Innovation;
  • the Victorian Department of Education and Training with the Game Developers' Association of Australia; 
  • the City of Melbourne's CityLab; 
  • Idea Bombing Melbourne; 
  • the University of Canberra's Faculty of Arts and Design;
  • the City of Karlsruhe's Economic Development department, Germany; 
  • the bizplay conference, Germany; 
  • the Public Relations Institute of Australia's National Conference 2015;
  • Code for Australia.
For research inquiries concerning the FutureDeck, please send an Email to the GEElab team. Please direct commercial inquiries for workshops and other services around the FutureDeck to Karlsruhe, Germany based gerenwa GmbH.


Media analyst Henry Jenkins (2006) describes our age of convergence, in which digital media, computing and networking allow for joining components of classical media into unexpected new formations. One of the prime examples for this phenomenon are digital games, which are now played anytime, anywhere, on any device, and beyond; and how games now appear in everyday life as well as non-game contexts, in the gestalt of behavioral designs and interventions (Walz and Deterding 2014).
Maier (2015) takes Jenkins’ argument further, demonstrating how digitization blurs boundaries between hitherto separate industries, e.g. Pharmaceuticals, Nutrition, Insurance, or Automotive – cars become digital entertainment capsules and datacenters, even moving exhibition spaces, on wheels; Nutrition is person- and printable; "classical" companies are suddenly in competition with device and software manufacturers.
Last, but not least, "digital technology has changed how society relates to knowledge" (Evans-Greenwood, O'Leary and Williams 2015), and as such, we as educators need find mechanisms how to skill and facilitate for our students so they can thrive in an uncertain, ever-changing world (and consider their futures full of opportunity, instead of threat).
The FutureDeck seeks to connect these dots, by way of research-through-design.


  1. Evans-Greenwood, P., O'Leary, K. and P. Williams (2015). "The paradigm shift. Redefining education." Study published by Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited. Available Online at http://www2.deloitte.com/au/en/pages/public-sector/articles/redefining-e...
  2. Jenkins, H. (2006). Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide. New York, London: New York University Press. 
  3. Maier, J. (2015). The Ambidextrous Organization: Exploring the New While Exploiting the Now. London: Palgrave Macmillan. 
  4. Walz, S.P. and S. Deterding (2014). "An Introduction to the Gameful World." In Walz, S.P. and S. Deterding (eds.). The Gameful World. Approaches, Issues, Applications. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press. 1-13. 

Thank You

The FutureDeck has spawned so many delightful discussions with, as well as input and support from, peers and colleagues. Amongst these are Katrin Schöbel, Pete Williams, Wolfgang Renz, Ansgar Gerlicher, Jens Maier, Dirk Metzger, Steffen Buhl, Peter Moar, Peter Xing, Eddie Harran, Slav Tabachnik, Matthew Willcox, Penny Rowe, Alan Gibb, Jack Greig, Lorraine Tighe, Martyn Hook, Jeremy Yuille, Peter Evans-Greenwood, Rosella Mills, Nina Wlodarczyk, and certainly someone we forgot to mention.



Photo (c) 2015 Josh Robenstone.
Photo (c) 2015 Josh Robenstone.
Play session with the City of Melbourne's CityLab during Melbourne Knowledge Week 2015.
Exemply outcome of a play session during Melbourne Knowledge Week 2015: Models of sensor-rich jewellery tracking health data which gets citizens affordable access to recreation centres in Melbourne.
Photo (c) 2015 Rosetta Mills.
A FutureDeck workshop group during Melbourne Knowledge Week 2015, bodystorming an idea created with the game.