Abstract

Over the past decade, it has become increasingly popular to position design as an excellent tool for companies and organisations to foster innovation and growth. As an adaptable practice design can be applied to serve many ends, and in the field of sustainable transition design has the potential to create new solutions due to its capacity to ‘reframe’ large-scale problems of a ‘wicked’ nature. However, as we will argue in this paper, the innovation and change promoted through design risks becoming merely a vehicle for promoting the values associated with 20th century neoliberal capitalism. We therefore want to question the role of design as a managerial tool and ask: How might design be used as an ethical transition in organisations and not merely be hijacked as an opportunistic vehicle for streamlining, optimisation and growth? This tension field is highlighted through a showcasing of a research programme about sustainable development, innovation and change conducted together with the world’s largest player in the fur industry: Kopenhagen Fur.

Keywords:

design management, design anthropology, design for transition, innovation

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License

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Jun 25th, 12:00 AM

Design for Profit or Prosper

Over the past decade, it has become increasingly popular to position design as an excellent tool for companies and organisations to foster innovation and growth. As an adaptable practice design can be applied to serve many ends, and in the field of sustainable transition design has the potential to create new solutions due to its capacity to ‘reframe’ large-scale problems of a ‘wicked’ nature. However, as we will argue in this paper, the innovation and change promoted through design risks becoming merely a vehicle for promoting the values associated with 20th century neoliberal capitalism. We therefore want to question the role of design as a managerial tool and ask: How might design be used as an ethical transition in organisations and not merely be hijacked as an opportunistic vehicle for streamlining, optimisation and growth? This tension field is highlighted through a showcasing of a research programme about sustainable development, innovation and change conducted together with the world’s largest player in the fur industry: Kopenhagen Fur.

 

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