The value of Design. Visualised.


More than 30 years ago, Charles Eames, the American multidisciplinary designer, was asked, ‘What are the boundaries of design?’. He replied, ‘What are the boundaries of problems?’. The boundaries of the problems humanity is facing  today are entangled and complex and the SDGs remind us that they are interconnected and rooted in the choices we make in our everyday lives: how we eat, how we consume energy, or form relationships. Designers can contribute to making the problems more serious or to making the solutions more transformative. Good design leads to systemic transformations but the process behind it can be invisible. Dan Hill, Associate Director at Arup, has drawn comparisons between design and dark matter. He argues that “without addressing [the] dark matter [of design], and without attempting to reshape it, we are simply producing interventions or installations or popups that attempt to skirt around the system.” The lab will be a multi-stakeholder meeting involving service designers, information designers, researchers, scientists, businesses  with the goal of creating a visual output that makes ‘the dark matter of design’ -the design process- more tangible, so that its nature becomes more understandable, replicable and transferable across different sectors and disciplines.


Describe the facilitation of the process.

Information design agency InfoDesignLab will lead the facilitation. Co-design and a human-centred approach are the foundation of every project InfoDesignLab develops. This SDG-lab will be grounded on the same foundation in order to embrace participants’ perspective in knowledge development, idea generation, and output development.


What are the potential innovations/prototypes and impact of these?

In September 2015 World Leaders committed to the 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development, to achieve 3 extraordinary things in the next 15 years: End extreme poverty. Fight inequality and injustice. Fix climate change. There has never been a more pertinent time to demonstrate the value of design in order to achieve the transformation we need.

The aim of the lab is to visualize the value of design and create a document that can make the design process more easily understandable and hopefully transferable across different disciplines and sectors, in order to facilitate systemic solutions.

Oslo, SoCentral and DOGA