A critical challenge for today’s society is to rethink existing institutions to equally address the requirements of a growing global population while guaranteeing future environmental sustainability. Trends in geopolitics and geoeconomics are coming together in a way that has implications for all economies. Global priorities have shifted towards geopolitical stability, sustainability issues and inclusive development. Building resilient economic systems is the need of the hour. As countries navigate the polycrisis, the key question is how can we come out of this situation by not only saving lives but livelihoods as well.
As life and livelihood across the globe experience series of disruptions, we must evaluate the concept of the new normal and how it can be adapted to ensure human welfare, business continuity & industrial growth.
The push for sustainable growth has led governments and major international organisations to launch programmes like the European Green Deal, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) “Green Growth” framework. The business and governmental sectors of the globe need to go through a significant and systematic shift to achieve the aims of global development.
Designing for human welfare and business continuity is not just about designing with the user in mind, it’s about creating designs that will work for all kinds of people, to make sure that every person has an equal opportunity to use the product or service.
Conscious Design Decisions
Businesses need to take more responsible and ethical actions and keep the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in consideration while designing, specifically goal number 12, ie., “responsible consumption and production”.
When designing a product or a service, you want to make sure that it is sustainable and meets certain technical and functional criteria. But there is also the question of how it might impact the world in 20, 30 or 50 years and how it will be perceived by future generations. These considerations are not just aesthetic – they have deep implications for human welfare and business continuity.
Design methodologies are playing an overarching role in bringing cutting-edge solutions to address the disruptions triggered by current events. Sustainability and ethical practices are the need of the hour. World leaders are embracing designing and implementing sustainable economic development strategies through structural reforms.
For instance, during the pandemic, we experienced the collective strength of the global design community. Designers came up with a variety of creative emergency responses, medical masks, face shields and social distancing devices, and created open-source design solutions available for anyone to adapt and manufacture.
The Indian Design Ecosystem
In the Indian context, policy advocacy is crucial for creating an ecosystem around human-centred design and innovation that is planet first. Policy revisions will play a major role in reshaping the country’s growth landscape and help the industry encash the power of the momentum of innovation created by changing times.
Leading design practitioners from India and across the globe are deliberating on fostering innovation by integrating technology, design and human capital. Indian industry, en masse, must explore new opportunities and move faster by integrating the best of physical and digital space to design a hybrid model of functioning. Ensuring inclusivity in a culturally and economically diverse country like India is of the greatest priority.
In India, the standardization of critical and essential consumer products and their specifications must be done in such a way that neither international standards nor indigenous sensibilities become a barrier to trade and achieving sustainability goals.
For instance, in the case of education, one must note that carefully designing education frameworks will play a major role in defining the narrative of the post-COVID world. Mitigating the impact of the pandemic and continued disruptions of socio-economic origin require a re-imagination of the education system where simple digitization of course content is not sufficient. The future of education, i.e. Education 3.0 must be socially formed, digitally empowered and contextually reinvented.
Education systems must converge creativity, productivity, critical thinking, big data, personalisation and many other factors. Institutes must initiate dialogue with students to create courses that support making a unified outcome and not a single-sided decision.
The Future of Design as a Discourse
Design as a profession is growing, and it is up to designers to make purposeful decisions identify and articulate the fundamental problem and create practical solutions. It is being increasingly recognised as a method of thinking that can not only drive corporate success but also be utilised to tackle complicated human concerns, in addition to producing outstanding goods and experiences. Design and technology development, supported by increased connectivity and collaboration, must take center stage to bring new normalcy.