Design futures - Exploring internationally comparative product design methods to meet material need, facilitate entrepreneurship and create emplo (HN)

Lead Research Organisation: Loughborough University
Department Name: Loughborough Design School

Abstract

As a core human capability, creative product design has the capacity to change the physical environment by envisioning, planning and executing solutions to real-world problems that can generate wealth and provide employment (IDSA 2015). Through the development of dedicated methods/tools, design activity has reached high levels of sophistication in the developed world, where outcomes have a major impact on quality of life embodied in the functionality of manufactured products and contribution to wealth generation/employment through a supply chain economy (Proximity Design, 2014). However, the economic and social benefits of such approaches remain problematic in ODA recipient countries due to a lack of appropriate training and education in opportunities and nature of the creative process.

This project integrates the distinctive and emerging methods of arts and humanities research in creative product design to share, discuss, co-create and envisage ways in which the discipline can contribute to key areas of the UN2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development i.e. "emerging creative economies, creative practices.....and building on local crafts, products, expertise and experience" (United Nations 2015). The ultimate outcome is to provide employment to tackle poverty as identified in the UK Government Aid Strategy 9 (Department for International Development, 2015). The proposal exploits the PI and CI's expertise in the use of design to support product development for both developed and developing economies by facilitating the identification and application of approaches that are appropriate for ODA recipient countries. It builds on a recent PhD undertaken by the CI who has direct, first-hand experience of the key issues through field work in Myanmar.

The project outcomes will be achieved via a six phase network-driven approach that promotes shared learning and dissemination of outcomes:

Phase 1 - Establish latest thinking in the use of design-based approaches for creative product design in the four levels of ODA recipient country

Phase 2 - Collate case study examples of creative product design undertaken in the four levels of ODA recipient country that effectively address opportunities/challenges

Phase 3 - Deliver a UK networking event to explore the challenges and opportunities for creative product development in ODA recipient countries through the presentation/discussion of the Phase 1 case studies; generation of an approach for best practice; exploration/testing of this through a co-design task for a problem/issue/opportunity identified for each of the ODA recipient country (four design briefs); identify a consensus-driven approach for roll-out to all ODA recipient countries

Phase 4 - Translate the consensus-driven approach and case studies/designed outcomes into an interactive website, video and booklet for dissemination at a launch event in each of the four levels of ODA recipient country plus distribution to key representatives (academic/government/business) in all 146 ODA recipient countries

Phase 5 - Reflect on all project activities and identify opportunities to further extend the work through further applications for funding

The outcomes from the project will be embodied in an interactive website and printed booklet that has relevance for anyone wishing to use creative product design in ODA recipient countries to address problems/issues/opportunities and create employment (direct/indirect) that will ultimately contribute to the alleviation of poverty as identified in the UN2030 Agenda. The outcomes from the network will be embodied in the distributed resources, with the interactive website continuing to develop beyond the six month project through the uploading of case studies that demonstrate the successful application of the identified approaches and edited/maintained on a voluntary basis by the PI/CI.

Planned Impact

By engaging in the project, the international participants from the four levels of ODA recipient countries and PI/CI will acquire enhanced knowledge of the opportunities/challenges relating to creative product development in the four levels of ODA recipient country plus that of developed countries. Embodied as project case studies demonstrating opportunities/challenges and best practice, this knowledge base will be rolled-out to the international participants' home ODA recipient countries through four dissemination network events. Invited attendees will have been identified as part of the project and represent areas such as government, academia, industry, design, craft, business and staff from key international charities operating in the country. The participating charity will be given an opportunity to feature the project outcomes (website/video/booklet) on their own website and use their contacts for dissemination.

The launch events will have the capacity to inspire those wishing to explore creative product design and associated manufacturing in the challenging context of ODA recipient countries. By their very nature, these events will have a limited number attendees, being from four of the 146 ODA recipient countries. For this reason, a website, booklet and video will be produced to facilitate access to all ODA recipient countries, with a representative from each being identified as a key point of contact to support the dissemination, receiving a personal invitation to disseminate the web-based material plus a pack of 100 booklets that capture the essence of the project and recommendations.

With a resource that can be globally accessed via the internet and capacity to add new projects beyond the completion of the funding, global dissemination will be facilitated and interest maintained for stakeholders wishing to:

- Establish a creative product design and associated manufacturing enterprise in ODA recipient counties
- Employ an indigenous material resource through a creative design-driven approach to enterprise
- Capitalise on an indigenous craft capability through a creative design-driven approach to enterprise

The project outcomes will be promoted via a launch event in the four levels of ODA recipient country at which is it intended that a national representative(s) will become an ambassador for the project to promote distribution. Each of these four launch events will be attended by either the CI/PI to support the international participant and establish additional network contacts. However, the website will contain sufficient material and instructions to enable interested organisations or individuals to establish their own networking events to facilitate scaling-up in the dissemination process, thereby enabling exponential growth.

Specific outcomes to facilitate impact will be:

- Interactive website with video and booklet pdf download as a knowledge transfer resource (project/methods/outcomes) with the capacity to upload additional case studies (overseen by the PI/CI on a voluntary basis post-funding). The key elements of the website will be the eight case studies in which challenges/opportunities have been identified through projects already undertaken in the four levels of ODA recipient country (two per country); the four original case studies of co-designing to resolve real-world problems/issues/opportunities identified by each ODA recipient country during the UK networking event at which participants collaborated to generate consensus-driven methods

- 15000 Project booklets encompassing key content from the website, with 100 being distributed to each of the 146 ODA recipient countries

- Launch events in each of the ODA recipient countries (Turkey, Kenya, Zambia, Indonesia) supported by either the PI or CI

- Academic journal paper (Design Studies)
 
Title Thinking Materials design tool 
Description Fold-out design tool to increase understanding in the use of indigenous crafts and materials with the aim of inspiring designers, manufacturers, entrepreneurs and government policy makers to explore product opportunities that will support supply chains and generate employment opportunities. 
Type Of Art Artefact (including digital) 
Year Produced 2017 
Impact Interest in the use of its methods. 
URL http://www.thinkingmaterials.net.webhost2.lboro.ac.uk/index.php/cards/
 
Description The capacity to use indigenous crafts and materials in lower income economies for the manufacture of high value export products has been identified through case study examples. This has led to the identification of seven material categories and three approaches to manufacturing, all of which have been visualised through a physical and online design tool.
Exploitation Route Global dissemination to key stakeholders in design education and manufacturing/government policy makers in lower income economies.
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink,Creative Economy,Education,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology

URL http://www.thinkingmaterials.net.webhost2.lboro.ac.uk/
 
Description An introductory letter with an overview of the project plus link to the project website has been forwarded to an identified stakeholder in each of the 146 countries on the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) List. Samples of the fold-out design tool that was produced during the project were enclosed, with a reference in the introductory letter to link a link on the project website that gives access to unlimited PDF downloads of the design tool. Project exhibitions took place in Uganda, Kenya, Indonesia and Turkey.
First Year Of Impact 2017
Sector Creative Economy,Education
Impact Types Cultural,Economic

 
Description Thinking Materials academic collaborator 
Organisation Bandung Institute of Technology
Country Indonesia 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Funding and managing the collaboration.
Collaborator Contribution Visit to the UK for co-design activity and enabling PI/CI visit to institution for dissemination/exhibition/networking event.
Impact http://www.thinkingmaterials.net.webhost2.lboro.ac.uk/
Start Year 2017
 
Description Thinking Materials academic collaborator 
Organisation Kampala University
PI Contribution Funding and managing the collaboration.
Collaborator Contribution Visit to the UK for co-design activity and enabling PI/CI visit to institution for dissemination/exhibition/networking event.
Impact http://www.thinkingmaterials.net.webhost2.lboro.ac.uk/
Start Year 2017
 
Description Thinking Materials academic collaborator 
Organisation Middle East Technical University
Country Turkey 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Funding and managing the collaboration.
Collaborator Contribution Visit to the UK for co-design activity and enabling PI/CI visit to institution for dissemination/exhibition/networking event.
Impact http://www.thinkingmaterials.net.webhost2.lboro.ac.uk/
Start Year 2017
 
Description Thinking Materials academic collaborator 
Organisation University of Nairobi
Country Kenya 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Funding and managing the collaboration.
Collaborator Contribution Visit to the UK for co-design activity and enabling PI/CI visit to institution for dissemination/exhibition/networking event.
Impact http://www.thinkingmaterials.net.webhost2.lboro.ac.uk/
Start Year 2017
 
Description Presentation and exhibition at Kampala University, Uganda; Nairobi University, Kenya; Bandung Institute of Technology, Indonesia; Middle East Technical University, Turkey. 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Dissemination of outcomes and scoping for future work.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=ZwsfSMvA4Vw