Battle of Ideas: Designing Behaviour at the 2007 Battle of Ideas conference hosted by the Institute of Ideas.
Nowadays, even before designers have put pen to paper, there are growing concerns about the consequences of their work and its effect on society. They are accused of everything from creating too much waste (excess packaging) to fuelling excessive consumption (producing unnecessary gadgets, luxury goods). We are told designers need to rethink their role, ensuring 'products' make a responsible contribution toward the common good, solve social problems, even promote responsible behaviour. Many designers have gone ethical; every designer wants to produce their version of 'I'm not a plastic bag'.
While design has traditionally been about making life better by designing better things, many now argue it also has a duty to promote wellbeing, responsible behaviour, and to make people think rather than just consume. Today there are calls from government, local authorities and policy advocates that designers need to rethink their role, ensuring that 'products' make a responsible contribution toward the common good, by tackling issues from health awareness and rebuilding community to reducing consumption and global warming- Institute of Ideas
Professor Anthony Dunne is head of the Design Interactions Department at the Royal College of Art. He is also a partner in the design practice Dunne & Raby.
He studied Industrial Design at the RCA before working at Sony Design in Tokyo. On returning to London he completed a PhD in Computer Related Design at the RCA. He was a founding member of the CRD Research Studio where he worked as a Senior Research Fellow. He also taught in Design Products where he jointly led Platform 3.
His work with Fiona Raby uses design as a medium to stimulate discussion and debate amongst designers, industry and the public about the social, cultural and ethical implications of existing and emerging technologies.
Their projects have been exhibited and published internationally and are in the permanent collections of MoMA and the Victoria & Albert Museum. Dunne & Raby have worked with Sony UK, Panasonic, France Telecom and the Science Museum. Anthony and Fiona have written several books including Design Noir (Princeton Architectural Press) and Hertzian Tales (The MIT Press).
Martyn Perks is a design consultant. Perks has written about design, technology and innovation for a number of publications including spiked, Blueprint, New Media Age, the Guardian's arts&entertainment blog.
Perks has also organised and spoken at events including at the Design Council and the Design Museum. Perks convened the Battle for Innovation at the 2007 Battle of Ideas festival.
Molly Webb works for The Climate Group, advising ICT sector companies on the risks and opportunities of climate change. Prior to joining The Climate Group, Molly worked for Demos from January 2005. She focused on web development and research on science, technology, environment and innovation.
Molly was part of the research team and led the Korea research for The Atlas of Ideas: China, India, South Korea and the new geography of science, a project looking at innovation systems, emerging trends in science and technology in Asia and models of scientific collaboration.
Her report South Korea: Mass innovation comes of age explored the dynamics of South Korea's innovation system and its recent focus on information and communications technologies. Her most recent Demos project on environmental innovation resulted in the publication The Disrupters: Lessons for low-carbon innovation from the new wave of environmental pioneers with Becky Willis and James Wilsdon (Demos, 2007).
Austin Williams is director of the Future Cities Project and author and illustrator of Shortcuts: Essential guides for building designers. An architect and project manager by profession, he is also a regular columnist with the Daily Telegraph, and was architecture critic with BBC London's Robert Elms' Show. He also runs the Bookshop Barnies at the Economist Bookshop at the LSE.
He was the coordinator of the Future of Community festival at Central St Martins College of Art and Design in 2006. In 2005, he convened the Future of London festival at the Museum of London; and the Future Cities: Future Visions conference at the LSE in 2003.