It’s 100 days to go until COP26the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference — and the most important summit on climate change in a generation. As part of the government’s #OneStepGreener campaign, we are proud to announce that we will be hosting a two-day Design for Planet festival alongside the conference, on 9–10 November, held at V&A Dundee. This is a landmark event to galvanise the UK’s design industry into committing to a sustainable, climate-first future.

We need to do this because design shapes the world. As Sophie Thomas often quotes, 80% of the environmental impact of today’s…

By Marc Cairns, Umi Lovecraft Baden-Powell, Celina Carlisle & Cat Drew

A whole new digital world

With opportunities to meet in person during the pandemic restricted, digital spaces have become an essential addition to our ‘toolkit’ of interactions both as citizens and designers. In this blog, our Design Associates Umi Baden-Powell (London) and Marc Cairns (Glasgow) share our learning from a project called Design, differently where we were exploring how to create feelings of connection and community between people from all four corners of the UK, in a digital world.

Celina Carlisle’s sketch for a physical pack to accompany the digital workshops

Over the past 15 months, digital platforms such as Zoom have offered opportunities to people…

By Marc Cairns, Umi Lovecraft Baden-Powell & Cat Drew

In this blog, our Design Associates Marc Cairns and Umi Lovecraft Baden-Powell reflect on the insights from our project into the design that is being led by communities: Design, differently.

Design is all around us. The places we go, the services we access, the products we use. Some are designed well, and others are not. The Covid-19 pandemic has exposed the impact of poorly designed systems, particularly for many low income communities who are dealing with multiple aspects of poverty and injustice from food to fuel, and more.

But the pandemic…

I’m writing this as the back story about how our Systemic Design Framework came to be. This is not the press release, nor the formal description in the report on the website, but a look at the ‘invisible’ intelligence which is embedded in its design. I hope these learnings can be used by designers wanting to adopt a systemic design approach, as the challenges I encountered in creating the Framework may well be the same as you will encounter when using it.

What it is

The Systemic Design Framework is an evolution of Design Council’s design frameworks, starting with the globally renowned Double…

By Cat Drew, Noel Hatch & Elli Thomas

In July, the Local Government Innovation Network and Urbanistas came together to share two practices: place-based change and place-making. Habiba Nabutu (Lankelly Chase) and Jo Blundell (Future Public) are place-based change practitioners, and Liane Hartley (Mend) and Lisa Woo (Enfield Council) specialise in place-making. Over an hour, each shared their work and asked each other questions, around shifting power, working with communities and codifying learning. This blog is our reflection on those conversations and the group discussions that followed.

Places are where social life happens

We started with some definitions. There is…

This is the third of three blogs that Abby and I have written to record the collective thoughts of The Point People about a new type of economy we see emerging, which we’re calling sisterhood economics, inspired by Jennifer Armbrust’s The Sisterhood. In the first blog, Abby talks about why we think this is important. In the second, we share the examples of what we think these businesses look like. And this piece reflects the thought activity we did to reimagine what the economy would look like if sisterhood values were the norm.

Inspired by Dan Lockton’s New Metaphors, we…

This year, The Point People has been holding a loose enquiry into a new type of economics. Inspired by Jennifer Armbrust’s The Sisterhood, and their feminist business principles, we’ve been delving into what a regenerative, caring, generous business model might look like. Far away from the race to the top, the eyes on the prize (pound sign) and limitless growth. It was suggested at a collective gathering in January, and on the verge of Government decisions of how to support businesses to go forward after the immediate shock of COVID is subsiding, it feels more necessary than ever. So as…

We’re writing this to share how design practice is evolving at Design Council, so people can see what we’re up to, and to invite people who are interested to get in touch. Over the next year, we’re embarking on programmes around inclusive design, community design, sustainable design, systemic design and design for good business.

Design Council was set up in 1944 to promote the standards of industrial design, and over the last 75 years has been tracking design as it has evolved, learning about what works, crystallising into advice or visual frameworks and sharing with the world.

Design, by its…

COVID-19 has tipped the world upside down. Businesses are being affected in all sorts of ways: remote working of staff who are also having to juggle caring responsibilities of old and young; physical stores closing; global supply chains disrupted; pausing or cancellation of non-essential work, with knock-on effects of furloughing, redundancy and closure. All of this is leading to unemployment, less disposable income, slowing the economy down further. A vicious circle.

As well as recognising deep grief & challenge, we at Design Council have a more hopeful view of the situation, however, which highlights many businesses pivoting what they are…

Two weeks ago I found myself writing a blog to get my own thoughts in order and ready myself for the week ahead. Two weeks later, the world has shifted beyond recognition, and I find myself doing the same.

Despite isolation, or in fact because of it, there is so much noise. So much necessary communication with family, friends and colleagues to check in with how people are adapting and coping. So many offers of help, from the neighbourhood to the national, that need coordinating. …

Cat Drew

Chief Design Officer at the Design Council, previously FutureGov and Uscreates. Member of The Point People.

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