Design as a Catalyst for Change and Progress: Design Matters

By Peter Quinn Davis.

Published by The Design Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

“Our worst fear is not that we are inadequate; our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.” (1)

The aim of this paper is to explore the idea that design can be a catalyst for fundamental/sustainable change and that designers can provide imaginative solutions to the questions surrounding sustainability and the integration of business and the corporate world. Every day new solutions are being found to ensure our survival; but it is more than survival it is about evolution and growth not only in terms of economy but also in terms of us as human beings understanding our development. 
Design, inventions, realisations, how ever you describe it, are endeavouring to benefit all humanity, this paper will seek to show a few alternative ideas while focusing more on root and branch change for our communities, in education, business and design. Design Matters: Good design works on many levels, functionally, rationally, and aesthetically. It is pleasing to use, to look at and at its best, it makes life easier, safer, slower, faster, it can be amusing, it enhances the experience of the built environment, we all take this as a given in the developed world.

Our failure to realise and appreciate that our planet is a fantastic design, or to act on this thought, is why our efforts are now so concentrated on its survival. It is also our failure to understand ourselves, which has thrown our very existence into jeopardy. Designers have always dealt with conflict, ambiguity, difficulties and diverging requirements. Their job is not to ignore certain aspects or compromise, but to be innovative risk takers in their quest to find solutions. Design has the power to convert difficulties into improvements; 
good design has the power to connect people emotionally, rationally, and scientifically. That is why it is ideally placed to play a leading role in reshaping our understanding of why and how we need to move forward realistically into the 21st century. Several themes have emerged over the last five years that as Design Educators, Designers and Design Entrepreneurs we have to take into the future, this paper charts these envisaged solutions and offers some alternatives to the status quo.

Keywords: Innovation, Practice-Based Methodology, Educational Sustainable Development, Value-Led, Material Thinking, Grounded Theory Approach, New Approaches, Future.

Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, Volume 5, Issue 4, pp.235-246. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1020.286KB).

Peter Quinn Davis

Director of Post Graduate Design, School of Architecture and Design, University of Plymouth, Plymouth, Devon, UK

Peter Quinn Davis is responsible for BA Undergraduate/MA Post Graduate teaching in Design Culture/Design Thinking/Sustainable Futures, within the School of Architecture and Design. Director of the MA Postgraduate programmes in Design, incorporating, Design, Designer Maker, Service Design, Spatial Design and Sustainable Futures. Programme Leader for MRes Design Thinking He holds the degrees BA 1/1 Cardiff: MA/Royal College of Art: SF/RCA: PGCE/HE: PHD.


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