Brave New Worlds: Science Fiction and Transition Design

122 Pages Posted: 22 Jan 2020

Date Written: December 17, 2018


The worldbuilding practices of science fiction authors have the potential to play a key role in society, given that they involve the design and depiction of complex, alternative realities set in the future. This potential is acknowledged by Transition Design--an emerging area of practice that melds futures-based narratives, foresight, and systems-thinking, amongst other disciplines. Transition Design goes beyond social innovation to envision radically new images of the future, and pathways towards more sustainable systemic states. To facilitate the design of and transition towards sustainable futures, this Major Research Paper introduces the Seven Foundations of Worldbuilding: a model that integrates a new superstructure of complex systems with backcasting methodology.

Keywords: foresight, futures studies, science fiction, transition design, backcasting, first principles, storytelling, narratives, 1984, brave new world, systems thinking, design thinking

Suggested Citation

Zaidi, Leah, Brave New Worlds: Science Fiction and Transition Design (December 17, 2018). Available at SSRN: or

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