Forecasting the frontiers of design




Journal Title

Journal ISSN



Volume Title


Design Management Review



Peer reviewed



This paper interrogates the future aims and politics of design around product quality, design and climate change, and the design of services. It defends technological innovation and questions today’s widely held but rather narrow obsession with subjective user experiences. The paper led to an invitation from the Design Management Institute to present a paper on ‘Responsible design and the triple bottom line’ to 170 attendees at the 32nd International Design Management Conference in Williamsburg, Virginia, US, September 2007. The paper critiques the orientation toward emotions of both theories of leadership (cf Bennis and Thomas, Geeks and Geezers: How Era, Values, and Defining Moments Shape Leaders; Goleman, McKee, and Boyatzis, Primal Leadership: Realizing the Power of Emotional Intelligence; both Harvard Business School Press, 2002) and theories of user experience (cf Pine and Gilmore, The Experience Economy, Harvard, 1999). It argues that the idea that the user’s experience is a kind of unrecognised key to corporate success has been the mantra of design for perhaps two decades. It suggests that old-fashioned criteria for quality – price, cost of ownership, reliability, ease of maintenance, durability – still count and that to downplay these is a mistake. Around climate change, the paper makes a case study of fuel efficiency in cars, to contend that the more thoughtful we are about energy supply processes and the emissions that attend them, the more thoughtless and unaware we can afford to be about the consumption of energy. Around service design, the paper makes a case study of solar panels, advancing the view that the priority environmentalism assigns to economy in resource utilisation can lead to a multiplication of labour-intensive services, when an approach that works toward automation would be more sensible


RAE 2008, UoA 63 Art and Design


WOUDHUYSEN, J. (2006) Forecasting the frontiers of design. Design Management Review, 17 (4) pp.31-38


Research Institute