Social Design Examples and Resources

October 19th, 2012

A few students have approached me and asked about their final projects and where to look for ideas on their final project. So I thought it would be useful to share my list of useful resources and examples in the area of social design for anyone interested in working in this area.

Professor Mike Press from Dundee University recently posted a very useful list of resources for anyone interested in social design. His article provides a lot of context to understanding society and how design can play a role in this area.

There are various sectors to look at: Healthcare, Transport, Community, etc. I suggested to my students to look at the Royal Society of Arts’s (RSA) lectures and briefs to give some guidance on topics and possible areas to tackle. They have reports on various issues that design could help with.

You can also find challenges through places like OpenIdeo – which is a crowdsourcing platform set up by the global consultancy IDEO to source new ideas to challenges that they have identified.

Areas like Healthcare have also been looked at by the design community for quite a while now, initially through the more traditional design routes like product and interior design but increasing through service innovation. The area of ageing is an issue a few researchers have been tackling in my school.

You can find examples and information of projects in the area of social design through these links.

— upcoming book published by Rosenfield Media, authored by Peter Jones
Experience-based Design
project by thinkpublic
RED projects
by the Design Council
Personhood in Dementia
— a research project by Dr. Jayne Wallace from Northumbria University

Community based issues:
Shapedbyus — this is a beta website set up and supported by Cornwall council to collect and resolve issues that affect communities in Cornwall. They are looking to roll this out to the whole of UK if the pilot phase is successful.

DOTT07 and DOTT Cornwall
DOTT stands for Design of the Times and was series of public engagement projects supported and funded by the Design Council . The first one was held in the North East of England in 2007, and the second one in Cornwall in 2009.

— stands for Design for Social Innovation & Sustainability Network. This linke features social innovation and sustainability projects from around design schools from around the world.

Design Againts Crime DAC is a practice-led design research project that emerged at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design (CSM).

This is not a comprehensive list, but its a start. If you have any projects or links that you would like me to add to my list, please add them to the comments list below.