I believe design is both the problem and the solution to the crisis we’re confronted with today.
For as long as humans have walked upright, we’ve designed tools and intervened in our surroundings. It is an ability that has brought progress and prosperity to large parts of the world, but it has also led to unintended consequences, growing inequality and rampant environmental and climate catastrophes.
At its heart, design is about conceiving and creating that which does not yet exist. Until now, all of our creating has been primarily geared towards the needs of humanity. We talk about design being user or human focussed. But if we are to solve the challenges facing the world, we have to expand our perspective, so it is not about the needs of humanity but about securing the welfare of the entire planet.
Therefore the most important question for all future design work is to what extent it is considered and developed in accordance with global ecosystems and the many species and life forms we share the Earth with.
The next question is how we as individuals, organisations and society can find new ways to engage with the world around us, now and in the future.
A future, mind you, in which we are co-creators and exercise influence over. As the historian David Wolf Graeber puts it: ‘The ultimate, hidden truth of the world is that it is something we make and could just as easily make differently’.
Read more about my research here:
Link to my research cluster Futuring Danish Design:
Associate professor at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Design. Head of the diploma programme in Design Management at the Royal Danish Academy. Author of several books and research articles about design and design related topics. Editor and founder of the journal Artifact – an international peer review journal of design, Intellect Books.