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OCAD U CO is the futures design studio of OCAD University.

We help leaders design more resilient products, services

and strategies through our unique approach to futures design.


Increasingly, leaders are telling us that they’re facing pressure to better anticipate, understand and respond to complex changes in order to uncover bold innovation opportunities and build resilience for the future.


At the same time, change is increasing in frequency and scale across multiple sectors. Many traditional approaches, solutions and paradigms have become ineffective or costly. The need for innovative and future-facing creative problem solving is quickly increasing.


To help face these challenges, we are equipping today’s leaders with the insight and confidence to drive unique and improved products, services and strategies to move beyond innovation theatre to real human-centred transformation.

Our approach is grounded in a rigorous and disciplined process that integrates futures thinking, systems thinking and design thinking. 


Futures Design is a disciplined way to derive insights from a range of multiple possible futures in order to design products, services and strategies that meet the needs of people and communities today.

Our work is guided by a relentless drive to be human-focused, futures-aware, and resilient to the systemic forces at play in our world today.


Futures Design is predicated on the understanding that there are many possible futures.

By considering a wide range of future possibilities, organizations broaden their horizon for opportunity and
work to mitigate possible emerging risks.


Our approach brings together methodologies from futures thinking, systems thinking and design thinking.

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Futures Thinking

Our Futures Design approach starts by understanding the driving forces at work today, and the multiple possible futures that we need to consider in order to build resilient strategies. Through strategic foresight, we uncover new opportunities and assess emerging risks.

Example methods:

  • Trend scanning

  • Scenario development

  • Market analysis

  • Strategic direction

Systems Thinking

Through systems thinking and systemic design methodologies, we visualize the relationships between system actors and work to understand the mechanisms at play in an ecosystem. Taken together, these insights equip organizations to be more precise with their strategies.

Example methods:

  • Ecosystem analysis

  • System insights

  • Stakeholder mapping

Design Thinking

At its core, our work is centred around people. We have a whole toolbox of design-led research methods to uncover critical human factors and people insights. Through this human-centred design research, we identify the most important needs and opportunities at hand.

Example methods:

  • Stakeholder journey maps

  • Consumer behaviour insights

  • Experience design

  • Business model design

Major global organizations turn to OCAD U CO to help design resilient products, services and strategies through our Futures Design approach.

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Each client and project are unique and

require a different mix of each method.


Together with you, we find the right calibration of our capabilities to ensure we optimize futures design for you.


Where we've done this before.


Case Study:
A bespoke foresight tool for the architecture, engineering and construction industry


Case Study:
Futures-oriented healthcare innovation for a multinational pharmaceutical company


Case Study:
Building an innovation portfolio for a prestigious educational institution 

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