Science and design fundamentally contributes to social progress, shaping futures and increasingly also to a more sustainable inhabi­tation of our planet. The shared challenges we face are inter­locked, multidimensional and multifaceted. They call for trans­disciplinary approaches since the areas of discovery are to be expected in between the esta­blished disciplines.
At this point, imagination unites the sciences with the arts as an inter­twined practice, including design — the activity of shaping the material and the immaterial world. Our purpose is to combine the imaginary with realisation, we practise a holistic approach to science and the creation of know­ledge. Imagining Science under­stands science and design in the heart of society: what we do is for everybody, for the common good and for today’s and future generations.

The motivation behind Imagining Science is the basic question of how we create, organise and commu­nicate knowledge. The quest for new knowledge and insight requires curiosity, courage, rigour and perse­ve­rance to explore and go beyond existing boundaries. Our aim is to contribute to a mutual dialogue between society, citizens and science through design. Read further about our purpose and services.

Values and priorities

As researchers, creators and strategists, we contin­uously try to understand and reinvent our professional roles and purposes in society. By asking what design can do for science and how science can augment design, we allo­cate the following purposes and priorities:

Harvard Graduate School of Design

Science and universities
as civic laboratories

Future-proof universities and knowledge organisations practice research in open ways. They understand themselves as catalysts within knowledge ecosystems deeply integrated in society: a real-life laboratory.
The COVID pandemic learned that the relationship between society and science is eminent. People are challen­ged by the complexity of contemporary human life, system change and the intangible underlying processes. Infor­mation integrity and transparency about scientific findings and the way to get there are key for an open, inclusive and democratic know­ledge society in which people have trust in science and institutions.
Research drives social progress and this changes knowledge institutions them­selves. New generations of students, scientists, staff and stake­holders look upon that universities reinvent and adapt towards current values and embodying ethical stan­dards, such as social inclusion, trans­parent governance and cir­cular principles.

The growing importance of lifelong learning in an aging society with people with more individualised personal and professional biographies, the future university likely will function as a hybrid, trans­generational knowledge hub where ideas, multiple perspectives and approaches coincide.


Addressing 21st century

Our society is on the brink of radical change. The compelling challenges N1 that humanity is facing are increasingly complex, interlocked and multifaceted. Addressing these questions is key to move upstream to the roots of problems. The sciences have the capacity to understand phenomena, to instigate social debate and to propose solutions benefitting all.
This calls for agency and trans­dis­ci­plinary approaches that go beyond existing patterns of how knowledge is developed. Imagining Science under­stands itself as a creative catalyst that collaborates with scientists, desig­ners and citizens to develop informed and creative responds to the problems to be solved. This implies an endeavour of taking many small steps and parallel fostering a holistic, connecting and mediating approach between the multiple social assignments.


AI plant visualisation, Evert Ypma, 2023

Sciences and the arts as
integrated practice

The curiosity to understand how things work and the imagination about possible futures connect the sciences with the arts in a fundamental way — as they have been united within the liberal arts throughout history. Having a hunch for something that might be relevant combined with structured observation of phenomena allow scientists to make new assumptions and create argumentation based on models. The arts, including design, projects envisioning scenarios in sketches and prototypes using heuristic techniques. The act of designing the artificial is about the transformation from one state into another, new prospective state. Whereas design predominantly is oriented to requirements derived from real-world use-scenarios, autonomous art is freed from any functional stipulation and starts from personal, subjective expression. Science and the arts share both a dialectic relationship between imagination — thinkability — and realisation — visualisation — A or: describing what cannot be visualised and visualising what cannot be described.
Science itself is increasingly interested in the material and aesthetic conditions of its own knowledge production, N2 while design endorses the Notion of “designerly ways of knowing” N3 to materialise possible futures. The dialogue between the arts and sciences can change perspectives on knowledge production and processing unleashing pristine potentials for both fields.



Services and Activities

Together with our commissioners and partners, we explore the strategic, spatial and communicative conditions of science, information and knowledge production. We develop solutions for leading science and knowledge-oriented organisations.

Services and activities of Imagining Science

Our networked practice works on commissioned and on unsolicited projects that are characterised by its visionary and collaborative nature. Empathy, foresight, design intelli­gence and digital craft is combined with a deep understanding of scientific contexts. The projects we endeavour span a broad of range outcomes, from visions and conceptual strategies, editorial and visual communication to digital and spatial design for universities, labs, innovation centers, museums and archives, foundations and companies.

Imagining Science supports clients to materialise ideas championing a pro­gres­sive mindset. Particularly we are experienced in designing complex issues, multi-stakeholder projects and long-running develop­ment trajectories that require conceptual consistency and operative endurance. We offer agile and solid project management focussed on results. We favour short communication lines between all stakeholders involved.

Imagining Science offers workshops and training for scientists, professionals from science organizations and training for companies and organizations where knowledge and complexity is at the core of the organization.