Future Wellbeing: Smart Design or Burnt Socio-Economic Policies
Editor: Lyndon Buck, Geert Frateur, William Ion, Chris McMahon, Chris Baelus, Guido De Grande, Stijn Verwulgen
Author: Crisp, Alan R; Arthur, Leslie
Institution: Nottingham Trent University, United Kingdom
This paper identifies and challenges the philosophies of contemporary design paradigms particularly those associated with the new ‘buzz’ term ‘smart design’; now synonymous with product design; and proposes new paradigms and future directions for design and designers and particularly design teaching within Higher Education [HE]. Design evokes debate, rhetoric and confusion, particularly when coupled to ‘smart’. One questions, what is it, which professions practise it and what should its and their aim and philosophy be? The United Kingdom is currently driven, relative to design, by Cox  and government’s drive towards a knowledge economy developed from an economic period described as ‘industrial creativity’. One questions, is this direction for the future correct? Herbert Simon, 1969, proposed ‘design is devising courses of action aimed at changing existing situations into preferred ones’. Accepting Simon’s theory integrated with Papanek’s  asserting that ‘design transcends all’, and that the problems facing all are of a social and economic nature i.e. mass consumption and consumerism, elements of socio-economic disruption and discourse as described by Lash and Urry ‘disorganised capitalism’ ; then this paper argues that ‘smart design’ and therefore ‘smart designers’ should be taking an ethical and responsible stance and in conjunction with that stance further develop the philosophies of ‘slow design’, ‘inclusive design’ and particularly when pertinent to the problems of obsolescence, e.g., mobile phones, they should cross the boundaries into ‘Manu-service design’ to solve problems that are inherently seen as socio-economic, moral and environmental. To take this new direction and change existing environs world-wide into acceptable ones, new thoughts and frame works for design curricula are required and some are proposed through this paper.