Emerging Opportunities for "Design Thinking" to Deliver Sustainable Solutions in the Built Environment

By Kimberley Wilson, Cheryl Desha, Sam Bucolo, Evonne Miller and Charlie Hargroves.

Published by The International Journal of Design Management and Professional Practice

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: October 10, 2014 $US5.00

In the built environment sector, a range of innovations are delivering environmental improvements with mixed success worldwide. The authors of this paper argue that a more “disruptive” form of innovation is needed to bring about significant and systemic change within the sector. Critical to this transition is the development of new behaviours and values. In particular, built environment professionals need to become active change agents in cultivating these new behaviours and values through the development of collaborative visions, scenarios, practices, and ideas. This paper identifies and discusses the critical role that design (in its broadest sense) can play in this process. Drawing on a comprehensive review of literature, the authors highlight a number of transformational opportunities for cross-professional learning and sharing between design and built environment disciplines in achieving environmental innovation (eco-innovation). The paper also considers several design-based concepts that have a potential application in the built environment sector including: design thinking, social innovation (human-centered), and disruptive innovation (transformational) approaches. The research findings will assist in building the capabilities of designers and innovators to create sustainable solutions to global problems, and in supporting the social diffusion of systems-changing ideas in the built environment sector.

Keywords: Innovation, Environment, Transformative

The International Journal of Design Management and Professional Practice, Volume 8, Issue 1, October 2014, pp.1-10. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: October 10, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 257.035KB)).

Kimberley Wilson

PhD Student, Science and Engineering Faculty, Queensland University of Technology (QUT), Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Dr. Cheryl Desha

Senior Lecturer in Sustainable Development, Science and Engineering Faculty, Queensland University of Technology (QUT), Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Prof. Sam Bucolo

Professor, Business School, University of Technology Sydney (UTS), Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Dr. Evonne Miller

Research Leader (Design), Creative Industries Faculty, Queensland University of Technology (QUT), Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Charlie Hargroves

Senior Research Fellow, Curtin University Sustainability Policy Institute (CUSP), Curtin University, Perth, Western Australia, Australia