Assembling Tomorrow by Scott Doorley and Carissa Carter

Assembling Tomorrow by Scott Doorley and Carissa Carter


June 18, 2024
Assembling Tomorrow by Scott Doorley and Carissa Carter
The twelfth and final book in the design book series
Book launch at Book Passage, California: July 16, Carissa Carter and Scott Doorley join Lisa Solomon in conversation
51 Tamal Vista Blvd, Corte Madera, CA 949251
Stanford, California 94305
United States

Assembling Tomorrow—a deeply hopeful manifesto for designing the future.

“A guidebook, instruction manual, and secret recipe for creating a future we all can live with and in. It is the design manual that everyone needs, whether you consider yourself a designer or not.” —Thomas Hayden, science writer and author of On Call in Hell and Sex and War

We live in an era of runaway design where the possibilities of new technologies—like generative AI and synthetic biology—are near limitless, but so are the perils. Even the most well-intentioned and transformative innovations can go haywire, jeopardizing our work and our world. In this provocative new book, Carissa Carter and Scott Doorley, the Academic and Creative Directors at the Stanford, pair speculative fiction with practical guidance to show how to build a world worth living in rather than one that tears us apart.

Beautifully illustrated by Armando Veve, Assembling Tomorrow: A Guide to Designing a Thriving Future (Ten Speed Press, June 18, 2024, ISBN: 9781984858184) grapples with the future of technology, ecology, biology, work, politics, food, parenting and interpersonal relationships, and more. From the effects of social media to the uncertainty of AI and the consequences of climate change, the outcomes of our creations ripple across our lives, and we are now at a critical moment where we must consider: What does a thriving future look like? How could we design it thoughtfully and creatively if we were tasked with doing so? 

Assembling Tomorrow is poised to redefine the discourse on design and innovation, offering a roadmap for creating a future that we can all proudly inhabit.

The intangibles: the hard-to-pin-down forces that shape us and everything we make. Individual chapters take on connections, flow, feelings, and make-believe, to show that while we might never be able—or even want—to control the intangibles, we can learn to recognize, learn from, and work with them. 

The actionables: the things we can do to alter our perspective and thrive in an era of runaway design. Novel experiments and simple practices, including embracing awkwardness, shapeshifting,, drifting instead of walking, and creating new maps with new norths, reveal the possibilities hiding in the chaos.

Histories of the Future: 20 speculative fiction short stories, inc. “Veritas™,” “Apple Attacks the Amazon,” and “Cassava with a Side of Crickets,” that Robert I. Sutton, organizational psychologist and New York Times bestselling author calls “thought-provoking flights of fancy that explore how everything from sibling rivalry to sexuality to the Amazon rainforest just might have evolved seventy years from now.”

Whatever the challenge—responding to the climate crisis or artificial intelligence, building the next billion dollar industry, or simply parenting in a world where the old rules no longer seem to apply—Assembling Tomorrow provides the tactics and tools that we each need to design our own futures. 

Assembling Tomorrow is the highly anticipated capstone for a 12-book series on design from Stanford’s Inaugurated with the popular anthology Creative Acts for Curious People by Sarah Stein Greenberg, the series provides ready-to-use design insights and creative approaches to help designers and non-designers alike build their creative foundations.

The creative team
Scott Doorley
is a writer, designer, and the creative director at the Stanford He co-wrote Make Space: How to Set the Stage for Creative Collaboration and teaches courses in design communication. His work has been featured in museums from San Jose to Helsinki and in publications such as Architecture + Urbanism and the New York Times.

Carissa Carter is a designer, geoscientist, and the academic director at the Stanford She’s the author of The Secret Language of Maps: How to Tell Visual Stories with Data, and teaches design courses on emerging technologies, climate change, and data visualization. Her work on designing with machine learning and blockchain has earned multiple design awards, including Fast Company Innovation and Core 77 awards.

Armando Veve is an award-winning illustrator whose drawings have appeared in publications including The New Yorker, National Geographic, Scientific American, MIT Technology Review, and Wired, among others. 

Praise for Assembling Tomorrow
Assembling Tomorrow brilliantly navigates the complexities of our modern world, blending insightful analysis with imaginative storytelling. It is a must-read for those looking to find harmony in today’s dynamic landscape.”—Jason Mayden, chief design officer of the Nike Jordan brand

“In this era of runaway design—where complexity rules and the stakes for humanity and life on earth are so high—Assembling Tomorrow is both a meditation and a guide, a poetic road map to flourishing.”—David Sun Kong, PhD, director of the Community Biotechnology Initiative, MIT Media Lab

“This brilliant book offers a new approach to all creative work that will expand your understanding of what it means to make and open up possibilities you didn’t know existed—it did for me.”—Adam Johnson, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Orphan Master’s Son

“A dazzling, disturbing, optimistic, and relentlessly useful gem to help you shape the future by understanding the past.”—Robert I. Sutton, organizational psychologist and New York Times bestselling author

“A beautifully crafted and timely call for design and technology to embrace the very thing they’ve often sought to transcend–constraints, nature, and our own humanity.” —Liz Carlisle, agroecologist and author of Healing Grounds and Lentil Underground

“Prepare for a wild ride!…Assembling Tomorrow will challenge your current mindset and empower you to create a brighter future.”—Dr. Jennifer Aaker, behavioral scientist and author of Humor Seriously

“A crucial part of your creative toolset that will expand your imagination. Telling stories about tomorrow enables us to expand our imagination and establish a bond with the futures that await us.”—Liza Chong, founder of the Design Impact Fund and former CEO of The Index Project

Assembling Tomorrow is a brilliant and important book. Carissa Carter and Scott Doorley have created a powerful guide to design—its history, processes, and extraordinary potential. They weave together riveting illustrative stories and perceptive insights to create a book that has tremendous value and meaning for everyone.”—Bill Guttentag, Oscar-winning writer-director

RSVP for Assembling Tomorrow by Scott Doorley and Carissa Carter
June 18, 2024

Thank you for your RSVP.

Stanford will be in touch.


e-flux announcements are emailed press releases for art exhibitions from all over the world.

Agenda delivers news from galleries, art spaces, and publications, while Criticism publishes reviews of exhibitions and books.

Architecture announcements cover current architecture and design projects, symposia, exhibitions, and publications from all over the world.

Film announcements are newsletters about screenings, film festivals, and exhibitions of moving image.

Education announces academic employment opportunities, calls for applications, symposia, publications, exhibitions, and educational programs.

Sign up to receive information about events organized by e-flux at e-flux Screening Room, Bar Laika, or elsewhere.

I have read e-flux’s privacy policy and agree that e-flux may send me announcements to the email address entered above and that my data will be processed for this purpose in accordance with e-flux’s privacy policy*

Thank you for your interest in e-flux. Check your inbox to confirm your subscription.