May 25, 2016

Posted by in 2016, Expert's Session, News | 0 Comments

Model on socially responsible design by Prof. Katherine Bissett Johnson

DATE : 25th May 2016

TIME: 14:30 – 16:00

VENUE: School of Engineering and Applied Science, Ahmedabad University

CHAIRED BY: Prof. Katherine Bissett Johnson

Prof. Katherine Bissett Johnson

Prof. Katherine Bissett Johnson

The session on Socially Responsible Design by Prof Kate started with a very beautiful line stating, “Design and business has a dependency on each other. The design of the model has the responsibility not only to give a solution to the problem for which it is designed but also towards the environment and people.” She told that eighty percent of the environmental impacts of the model are determined at the design stage. She also talked about the current rate of resource consumption, pollution versus resource regeneration. According to her, this rate is unsustainable because the current rate of resource consumption versus its regeneration is very high. She showed her concern towards sustainability. Usually, designing professionals are found to be fluent in ‘design for business’, but they often had an inadequate grasp of ‘design for environment’ and are rarely engaged in ‘design for society’.
SHe then talked about business agenda and social agenda of designing. According to her, “The primary purpose of design for market is creating products for sale. Conversely, the foremost intent of social design is the satisfaction of human need.” Adding to it she said that these both may not always be polar opposites but rather a continuum. She urged participants to make socially responsible designs. And she added that there are big picture(the interface to bigger picture) and small picture(the product user interface) elements at play while designing a product.

She then talked about social design. According to her social design is a design which tries to solve social issues like health, hygiene, education, ecology, and aids fair trade, social inclusion, economic policy and so on and so forth. Social design, she said, requires a local focus. The approach towards socially responsible design is to treat society and environment as clients too. She stressed that the result of Socially Responsible Design is empowering people, rather than satisfying customers.
She introduced participants with Human Centered Design Toolkit which has been developed specifically for NGOs doing fieldwork in developing countries. The toolkit can be summarised in the following diagram:

She also gave some valuable advice which would help in their upcoming field work. These advice included observing problems, asking questions, proposing new solutions and getting feedback, understanding the user’s perspective, building relationships with users and creating opportunities for co-design and co-creation.
She then introduced UN Sustainable Development Goals and asked participants to create designs which aid in achieving these goals. She also commented on how design can lead to behavioral change in individual,social and material context.

Talking about social innovation she quoted Ezio Manzini who said that designers should look for innovations that are already happening in communities and try making them better.
After this she took the example of cool crate and explained how a prototype can be created from the step of identifying problem.

She concluded by saying that we should consider the individual, social and material impacts of product solutions as a way to look at the problem from multiple perspectives and she wished good luck to the participants and hoped that they would be successful in creating a solution for any existing social issue.

Social Responsibility for Product design by Prof. Kate Bissett Johnson


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