The Design Economy primer: how design is revolutionising health, business, cities and government

James Pallister at the Design Council: “In the four sections that follow, we offer a guide to the design economy in the twenty-first century – a flavour of the critical issues, leading companies, research institutes and designers in:

1. Health

A growing awareness of the social impact of design has led to an increasing number of designers working in health and well-being.​​

2. Business

Global corporations, following in the tracks of Apple, Philips and IBM, are building design studios and seeking Chief Design Officers to join their boards and orchestrate the transition from marketing-led to design-led businesses.

3. Cities

With a rapidly increasing proportion of the population living in cities, design is being used to tackle the implications of this demographic shift in areas like housing and infrastructure.

4. Government

In the UK, Europe and the US, designers can now be found close to the seat of government, employing design to improve public services and policies.

With design expanding into these important and largely uncharted areas, we urgently need to begin asking informed questions about design and its practical and ethical territory.

John Mathers, Chief Executive of the Design Council, asks us to pause for a moment to consider, “How has design, which many still associate largely with style and consumerism, come to be something one might look to for solutions to the most complex and challenging problems facing humanity today – problems requiring not just local fixes using clever design objects, but solutions that reimagine systems themselves? Are we, at this point, really even still talking about the same discipline?”

The questions, perhaps, boil down to one: ‘What should design do?’ …(More)”