1 Mar
Event time in Zürich, Switzerland (CET)
Wed, 1 Mar 2023
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Design for the Capitalocene

There is no need to describe the current environmental issues humanity is facing - although it's worth exploring how we got here and how design can help to salvage some of these issues. For the better part of the past 50 years (actually, almost exactly 50 years, since the infamous Crying Indian campaign was released - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h0sxwGlTLWw ), we have built an "Anthropocene" narrative - one around personal responsibility, forgetting that the actual actors have been, in fact, enterprises. Shifting to a narrative of "Capitalocene" - i.e. a narrative of enterprise responsibility, requires a different approach from designers, too.


The current forms of product design, specifically the practices of Design Thinking have been inefficient in tackling environmental issues because of the seemingly strong focus on the customer, but working under pressure from enterprises, without actually understanding business dynamics behind enterprise decision-making. This led to a bastardization of Design Thinking - a situation where design practices work towards maintaining the status quo, or event the current trajectory of environmental issues.


In my talk, I explore:

  • How Design Thinking has lost its momentum as a force for good through too direct an integration to business,
  •  How newer approaches in design-related philosophy (specifically, object-oriented ontology, Graham Harman's theories on hyperobjects, and Peter-Paul Verbeek's theory on technological mediation) can provide new grounds for designers to rebuild their creative approaches from for a more impact-driven practice,
  • How and understanding of traditional and modern business innovation frameworks (like Blue Ocean, A.L.I.E.N. thinking) can support designers in tackling the business aspects of impact and sustainability better - empowering them to create positive change on scale.

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