Upstarter Microbusiness Futures Exploration Pack

A set of provocative cards to help you think through your business idea, road-tested on many of our workshops and upstarts.


These cards are the result of some years researching innovative ways that people are making new businesses, and social enterprises in cities in the UK, the US and in Europe. We were looking for evidence of a whole new level of experimentation in new kinds of businesses. Our aim is to extract the patterns from all of this new activity in places like Detroit, Pittsburgh and Ghent. What’s interesting is that its not always the big cities where the new things are coming from – more likely it’s in the smaller cities, where living is cheaper, and where people don’t lose their home if they try an experiment in a new way of making money.

 “Its more Eno than IDEO” Richard Oliver, Writer

So the point is that they will help you to think through a business idea – you can start with one, or use them to think with. Each card has one idea on it, and some examples of people who have done something like this. It won’t tell you to do the same, but to think about your idea in light of this way of looking at business. Some of the cards have ideas that will not resonate with you or your idea, so discard these. With the rest, go through them one by one, or combine them, or make some kind of order with them that makes sense to you.

This is our first edition of 10 packs for early investors. You can buy a set below. You can also chose your price, in case you would like to invest a little in the programme itself, or sponsor a new founder, even.

Select your price

This set is commercial or social business agnostic. We do, however advocate having clear ethics and values that mean you stay true and on your straight and narrow. And, frankly, we are not interested in any business that is set up to rip people off. You don’t need out help or endorsement.

”Upstarter’s Futures Exploration Pack Cards is inspirational – it combine playfulness with rigour, and at a very early stage helped me think about my current project: The Almanac of the Future.” Annette Mees, Furthermore


The result will be that you have a clearer idea, or a more constructed and formulated idea by the end of the session! And it you don’t, then make the idea needs more work. We use them at the early stages of our programs, and occasionally halfway through a process, to help think about the format of an idea.


 You could always ask us to run a workshop with them!