The Digital Futures Lab (DFL) is a pioneering immersive studio-based program, the first of its kind at the Kemmy Business School. The DFL provides students with a unique opportunity to tackle complex, "wicked" problems alongside stakeholders, co-designing sustainable market futures. Drawing inspiration from prominent researchers like Michel Callon, Koray Calliskan, and Susi Geiger, the DFL teaches participants that markets are not static but can be shaped to become more sustainable, equitable, and fair

Through visual thinking tools and incorporating principles from design education, the lab fosters an intensive, immersive knowledge co-creation environment. Here, problem owners and designers collaborate to understand, imagine, and design future markets. Since its establishment in 2020, the DFL has tackled several place-based challenges, including:

  • Responding to the Covid Crisis (2020 Mission)
  • Decarbonising Limerick 2030 (2021 Mission)
  • A Circular Food Economy in Limerick (2022 Mission)
  • Higher Education 2040: Supporting digital transitions and climate change challenges (2023 Mission)
  • Designing a Local Real Food Economy: Limerick 2044 (2024 Mission) 
  • With over 300 alumni, the DFL continues to expand, both in the number of University of Limerick Master’s level courses incorporating the model and in extending its influence.

This growth has created a porous boundary between the university and the region, driving innovation for sustainability and systemic change in Limerick and the Shannon BioRegion. The DFL was founded by Dr. Annmarie Ryan, Associate Professor in the Department of Management and Marketing at Kemmy Business School, who continues to lead the program. She is supported by an increasing number of KBS faculty, an international network of academics developed through the EULab (an Erasmus+ funded strategic partnership that tested the DFL model as an international exchange program), and mentors who coach the teams each year.


For more information contact:

Dr Annmarie Ryan: annmarie.ryan@ul.ie

Linkedin: DFL: Digital Futures Lab

Twitter/X: @FuturesUl