About Us

We are the Near Future Laboratory, a foresight and innovation agency with studios in California and Europe. We are a leader in the practice of Design Fiction.

Design Fiction helps make futures real through the production of prototypes, helping teams understand potential opportunities and threats in their future. This approach leads to the production of books, essays, tools, fast-prototyped apps, artefacts from the future and other curious object you can find on this platform.

Our clients are global multinationals, governments and small enterprises eager to challenge the status quo and concerned about the unknown white spaces just beyond the core of their activities.

We are four Partners distributed in California and Europe with mixed cultures and backgrounds in research, engineering, social sciences and design, all with a proven track records both in academia and industry. Throughout our careers, we experienced what it means to own a startup, to launch a product, to lead teams of talented specialists, to convince a board, to report on KPIs, to teach and mentor students; we experienced first hand what it means to take responsibility for our own recommendations. Above all, we share a curiosity about ANYTHING, or as French writer George Perec recommended "we question our teaspoons”.

Julian Bleecker (PhD) is a researcher, product designer-engineer. He has been a professor at the University of Southern California, and a designer-engineer at Nokia’s Advanced Design Studio. He is presently founder and CTO at Omata, Inc., a product design company that has developed a modern analog-mechanical computer.

Nick Foster MA(RCA) is a designer, researcher, creative leader and strategist. He has led design efforts within organizations such as Dyson, Sony and Nokia, and is currently Head of Design at X (formerly Google X).

Fabien Girardin (PhD) is a research, engineer and executive active in the development of digital technologies for the benefits of people and care of the planet. With a broad spectrum of interdisciplinary skills, he guides organizations in transforming digital technologies into innovative cultures, visions and solutions.

Nicolas Nova (PhD, PhD) is an ethnographer and design researcher. He is also Associate Professor at the Geneva School of Art and Design and his work lies at the intersection of anthropology, interaction design and futures research, with a particular interest in observing and documenting digital practices.