Multi-Lifespan Timeline

Difficulty Level:

Method Overview

The Multi-Lifespan Timeline methodology was designed to help technology practitioners to imagine the changes that could occur in society in the next 100 years – both societal and technological changes – and how their product might contribute to society during that time range. 

Framework of ethics used:



Method Intentions:

Getting Started

You will need:

Materials: A butcher paper (160” width x 36” height), tapes, and markers

Participants: play as a team

Steps (Citation)

  1. Create a large scale timeline on a butcher paper (160” width x 36” height)
  2. Create 25-year intervals stretching 100 to the past and 100 years to the future
  3. Demarcate the timeline into two rows – one for social events and the other for technology events across the years.
  4. Paste the timeline to the wall or place on a long table
  5. Populate the past 100 years with sample social events and technological innovations that occurred in the given society.
  6. Next, engage the participants to brainstorm ideas for the future society and technology. Encourage them to specify the time ranges of when each event might occur.
  7. Evaluate the ideas and use that as the basis for future innovation.

Further Reading

Multi-lifespan Co-Design


Yoo, D., Derthick, K., Ghassemian, S., Hakizimana, J., Gill, B., & Friedman, B. (2016, May). Multi-lifespan design thinking: two methods and a case study with the Rwandan diaspora. In Proceedings of the 2016 CHI conference on human factors in computing systems (pp. 4423-4434).

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