DS 95: Proceedings of the 21st International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education (E&PDE 2019), University of Strathclyde, Glasgow. 12th -13th September 2019

Year: 2019
Editor: Bohemia, Erik; Kovacevic, Ahmed; Buck, Lyndon; Brisco, Ross; Evans, Dorothy; Grierson, Hilary; Ion, William; Whitfield, Robert Ian
Author: Empson, Thomas (1); Chance, Professor Shannon (2); Patel, Professor Shushma (1)
Series: E&PDE
Institution: 1: London South Bank University, United Kingdom; 2: University College London
Section: Creativity 4
DOI number: https://doi.org/10.35199/epde2019.4
ISBN: 978-1-912254-05-7


This paper provides a system level perspective of the contextual pressures facing designers, engineers and businesses today. In it, we challenge negative creative norms and we champion positive ‘postnormal’ creativity to enable a sustainable future. We hypothesise that organisations working towards creative sustainable solutions are driven by a purpose designed to respond to the current and contextual pressure faced by the Earth’s systems, a global society and a global economy. Developing motivations within a sustainable system will require instilling a long-term world-view perspective in all learners—and in this we include international leaders and industrialists, business owners, academic teachers and pupils. A regenerative mind-set must be encouraged across the collective of engineers, designers and business leaders—so that humanity can realise ecological, social prosperity and financial prosperity. ‘Business as normal’ must come to an end. We must enable an industrialised humanity to design its way out of unsustainable times. Across undergraduate and postgraduate education, through to Continued Professional Development and lifelong learning, the impact of design and business decisions must be qualified and quantified with respect to the three pillars (people, planet and profit). The consequences must be recognised, discussed, measured and used to productive and healthy advantage. By generating and adopting a more holistic view of impact, we have the potential for making real time measurement in a clean Fourth Industrial Revolution. With tangible measures of impact across full project lifecycle and the full supply and distribution chain, designers and engineers will be better informed to make sustainable decisions. This new measurement and value system must consider both good and bad impact to enable us to develop a moral compass to measure the creative impact of a product, project, system or business venture as we transition into a new sustainably minded norm.

Development that minimises negative environmental impact and even seeks to replenish previous damage caused, whilst enhancing the human experience as well, is crucial. This must be considered across the supply and distribution chain, and the standards of one population should not adversely affect or cost another segment of society. It is possible to achieve all this, whilst still securing financial growth, and this is considered the sought-after ‘sweet-spot’ of creativity. Successfully achieving this sweet-spot requires complex collaboration. Balancing concerns for financial growth with positive social and environmental impacts must be considered across the whole of a project’s lifecycle, and this must be a cornerstone of product design education.

Keywords: Creativity, Engineering, Sustainability, Sustainable Development, Design Education, Generative, SDGs


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