Invited lecture for the Connections Lecture Series
Peter Scupelli is giving a lecture titled “Dexign Thinking: Finding Design Opportunities in Societal Transitions” at the Connections Lecture Series in Doha, Qatar on November 14, 2023 Time: 4:00 to 5:15 pm (Arabian Standard Time) in Room: 3048 at CMU-Q.
Change is exponential. Products and services are developed faster, hold a shorter shelf-life disrupted by new offerings, and exist within global challenges such as climate change and sustainability. We live in the Anthropocene Era with the ongoing human-induced climate disaster and the sixth mass extinction. Design challenges for product/service creation are shifting from a customer-centric linear system to a new paradigm that includes a broader planetary context with a circular economy. The Human-Centered Design Thinking process popularized by IDEO/Stanford d.school identifies human-centered design opportunities for products and services through five steps: empathize, define, ideate, prototype, and test. Unfortunately, a mere customer-centric view for products and services is insufficient for planetary-scale challenges requiring a broader focus that includes all life forms and the planet’s health. Thus, moving forward, design for the 21st century requires broader perspectives; design educators are challenged to overcome the limitations of Human-Centered Design Thinking. The point of this lecture is that Human-Centered Design Thinking needs to be used in conjunction with futures thinking to yield new design methods that consider the larger planetary context over time. I discuss how futures thinking methods can augment design thinking methods to overcome limiting human-centered worldviews, epistemologies, and ontologies. In particular, how Causal Layered Analysis (CLA) can augment designers’ creative responses to behavior change challenges such as rapid decarbonization through four layers (e.g., litany, systems, worldview, myths/metaphors). CLA is a future studies method developed by Futurist Sohail Inayatullah. In this case study, I describe the challenges and insights from teaching design students to apply CLA to design future opportunities.