The Future Now Mini Mart carries a wide variety of provocative products. Some of these products have already arrived in the present, while others are still just over the horizon. These speculative products are known here as Artifacts from the Future.
Artifacts from the Future
Imagine that you could take an archaeologist’s expedition to the future to collect objects and fragments of text or photos to understand what daily life will be like in 10, 20, or 50 years. Artifacts from the Future give us this tangible experience of the future. They make the details of a scenario concrete, helping us to understand, almost first-hand, what it will be like to live in a particular future.
Artifacts from the Future may take dozens of forms, from the familiar bumper sticker to labels for the food we eat to future credit card statements. They can be 3D objects, like product containers, or videos that give us the physical experience of wearing augmented reality glasses as we walk down a street. These familiar objects of everyday life help us translate today’s trends and signals into intimate future experiences—and these experiences, in turn, increase our capacity to draw on our intuitive intelligence when making decisions about the future.
Artifacts from the Future provide a rich starting point for strategic discussions, whether for a new products team in a technical organization or a community group looking for ways to engage young people in building a stake in their own neighborhood. Creating Artifacts from the Future is also a great way to get people thinking about the future—their assumptions, their goals, and the path from here to there.
Mini Mart products are arranged on this website according to familiar categories, just like any other online retail site. Upon attempting to purchase products, you may notice that products will fall into one of these categories:
Out Of Stock
Many of the products carried at the Future Now Mini Mart are currently out of stock. This is because they simply do not yet exist. These products are what we call Artifacts from the Future. Just as an archeologist digs up artifacts from the past, we can create Artifacts from the Future. These Artifacts represent bits a pieces of possible future realities, and they allow us to imagine a world in which that object could exist, for better or worse.
Out Of Stock And Available
Not everything at the Mini Mart comes from the future though. Some Mini Mart products exist in the present, or sometimes just over the horizon. “Out Of Stock And Available” products will link to the company, lab, hackerspace, or startup where you can order or pre-order the product. IFTF does not take any commission on these products, and we do not officially endorse the product or company in any way. They are mixed in with Artifacts from the Future to help blur the line between what is real and what is possible, and we think they are interesting.
Open Now in Palo Alto, California
The Future Now Mini Mart is brought to you by the Institute for the Future, an independent, non-profit research organization with a more than 50-year track record of helping all kinds of organizations make the futures they want. Our core research staff and creative design studio work together to provide practical foresight for a world undergoing rapid change.