What responsibilities do designers have with regards to sustainability and technology? We are excited to share our upcoming sessions under the “Design Community” events, planned for Singapore Design Week 2023.
Overview – about the collaboration.
Together we will be co-hosting a two-part event. The series explores key aspects of the evolving definition of design and its long-term role in shaping a better world. The two sessions will begin to equip design-related professionals with the necessary conceptual understanding, vocabulary and tools to bring to their practice.
The first Design Community event – an expert panel discussion and participatory open dialogue – where we want to hear from the attendees too. An exploration into the evolving landscape of design, and sustainability alongside the ever growing involvement of technology in our work. Yet many designers don’t fully understand the implications it has, and how it impacts the practice.
This discussion will feed into the second session, which is a workshop redesigning the design industry in the following week. Though attendance to both is not mandatory, we highly encourage both as this will enhance the richness of both sessions as a whole. The second session – a workshop that explores mapping and designing the current and future ecosystem for creativity and responsibility.
This is a workshop that, following on from the panel discussion in the first week, will guide participants through a process, to explore, consider and design a new design industry fit for the future.
Design was without necessarily intending to be, often an emergent phenomena, with a series of cognitive activity manifesting into something (more often than not) tangible – a basic human activity carried out by most in some way, shape or form. But reach was rather limited for many reasons – primarily, (but not exclusively) due to technological limitations.
Over the course of continued civilisation – alongside fossil fuel powered energy, globalisation and increased connectivity, it has evolved to become a scientised process and ubiquitous, pervasive industry – driving the global economy, bringing progress and development to the world: improving (human) lives, experiences and existence. But if one stops for a moment to consider just how deeply and fundamentally it influences ontology – the frame shifts radically.
As complexity in the world increases – the separated design disciplines, narrowly conceived or defined scopes and goals, the democratisation of design, the unintended consequences, the incomplete thinking and the genius of the problem solving and solution creating – should and could have much more depth and reflection applied and considered than the practice often demands and allows for.
Over time the outcomes and consequences of all human activity as global existential challenges and risks faced are becoming apparent. Adding the exponentially growing use of and need for technology, further increases not just possibilities and opportunities but also responsibilities. Most of which are not even within the current sphere of awareness or consciousness – personally or professionally.
In the first session of a transdisciplinary discussion we will hear from practitioners, experts, academia and the attendees about the existential risks we face with regards to the environment, society alongside the impact of technology; including notions of systems, value, obsolescence, competencies needed to stay relevant, as well as notions of complexity, emergence, ethics, governance, responsibility, opportunity and impact for designers and the industry at large.
This will feed into the second session, which is a workshop redesigning the design industry in the following week. We highly encourage both as this will enhance the richness of both sessions as a whole.
The first session has been made possible through the kind and generous support of Temasek Shophouse through use of their beautiful and impact-driven venue.
This is the second part of the DC events from this collab with itsnotthere.design. Design has moved from designing products to services to now attempting to address wicked societal and environmental issues all whilst using the same toolbox for these challenges.
Such challenges require a different mindset, perspective and approach, as well as different tools. Having opened the dialogue exploring the influence of technology on the design practice as well as the increasingly connected global issues and risks we face in the first session – this workshop will challenge participants to reimagine and redesign the design industry as we know it.
There are many elements that we could rethink that could guide us to create a more intentional, professional, conscious and better path than we currently know – possibly leading to better global outcomes. Through various group activities (much like an innovation workshop) participants will look ahead to vision and create a design system that considers the needs of the practice and the many stakeholders involved, as well as how to optimise the design industry whilst still allowing for creativity, nonlinearity and emergence. We will explore issues of the designer’s career path, professionalism, ethics, governance, values, the influence of technology and more.
Unlike many professionalised careers (think accounting, architecture, medicine etc), the education, path, knowledge, obligations, qualifications, and structure (or lack thereof) of the design industry professional is almost non-existent. The journey can be as non-linear and creative as the thinking of the designers in it.
This was acceptable and appropriate when the work of designers was different and often limited by the physical supply chains, market reach and geopolitical issues constraining product distribution and cultural penetration. Yet with the increasing rise of social media, digital technology, unabated globalisation – the reach and impact of a designer in any discipline can be far reaching and highly influential in daily lives, long term habits and life decisions. Knowingly or unknowingly – this is shaping any or every aspect of one’s life. The implications are huge. But this realisation and awareness has not necessarily been explicit or prevalent within the industry-at- large.
Much of the work in the industry happens without another thought to the primary unintended consequences or the second or third order effects or impact of the solutions created.
Considering the increasing inclusion and utilisation of technology and growing reach of designers work – the workshop session will explore and seek responses to some of these questions:
-How has the industry changed over time and what considerations might be universal to the industry?
-What measures, structures or guidelines exist or could be put in place; that supports the industry into this transition of exponential opportunity, possibility and responsibility without hindering the very emergent, creative nature of the work?
– What aspects of education and or a formalised career could be improved or included to prepare those in a changing profession with more and more consequential impact?
-Who or how should the industry be governed?
-What ethical considerations should be highlighted with the creative industry and work? These are just some of the possible explorations to rethink, redesign and reconsider…
Participants will work in groups to imagine and create their vision of a thriving, conscious, positive and supported industry that considers the privilege that designers are afforded in shaping our daily lives, long term habits, life decisions and global landscape!
This will be a highly interactive, exploratory and somewhat existentially challenging session (from the industry perspective) and though the first session is not mandatory to attend, we highly encourage participants to do so, as much of the conversation will also reference and introduce the concepts and materials from there.
IMPACT VOUCHERS – In addition – when you buy your tickets, at check out – we ask if you want to “add on” an impact voucher. You have the chance to contribute a small sum to an impact project from handprint.tech for this event.
We will fund any unpurchased vouchers ourselves but we would love for you to be part of this amplification of positive impact.
In our next post, we will be sharing who our wonderful speakers are for the panel session. Stay tuned!