The five main themes of the conference are:
- Design as a Hacker
While the prevalence of small, agile start-ups is growing, it often seems as though the world is held hostage by certain monolithic industries and big technology giants. New feudalism is emerging based on the acceptance of people to rely on the giants’ services. Design poses big questions that force those in charge to probe the new systems and hack them by building independent access routes into technology. New possibilities such as new digital manufacturing tools and blockchain concepts enable Design to bypass the giants and support independence from the main dominant systems and industries.
- Design as a Protector
The accelerating demand for greater security with the technological ability to monitor and collect data on every aspect of one’s life raises moral, social and cultural issues. At the same time, it also creates new opportunities for knowledge, ideas, and tools. Design can play a huge role in this emerging field both for good and for bad. Design can and does create tools that may benefit society by providing safety and comfort, and it helps protect values such as privacy, social awareness, and self-preservation.
- Design as a Healer
While designers and architects have long been an important part of shaping hospitals and medical devices, their roles in these fields have expanded to account for people’s psychological and physical comfort. Additionally, the more we understand the impact of our surroundings on our well-being, the more the designers’ role expands, and the opportunities they have to help build a world that places people’s wellness first grow. Design is a healer of the flora and fauna, putting nature in the center and regulating the human impact on it.
- Design as a Visualizer
Recently developed tools of design such as parametric design and digital sculpture help designers to visualize complex realities and apply those to objects in the real world. New visions of aesthetics create new objects that combine shapes and structures which have never been conceived before with classic tools of design. Generative design and autonomous designers will expand our vision into the future of almost everything.
- Design as a Leader
The field of design finds itself in the service of new territories that were never previously open to the discipline. The role of Design with a capital D, and ‘Design-Thinking’ as its ambassador, gives design the opportunity to be an integrator, forecaster, motivator, and collaborator, and act as a leader. These new capacities of Design serve to connect it to Science, Sociology, Psychology, Management, and Education.