Impact By Design

25.02.16

Proudly partnering with Design in Action for GDFS 2015, we hosted an evening of exploration and discovery which aimed to un-pick the true value of design. The event was kindly sponsored by Beer 52, a company successfully launched through Design in Action’s Chiasma scheme. DJing on the evening was provided by up-and-coming promoter, Tropical.

The evening talks were led by two questions: “How can design transform our economy?” and “What impact can design have on innovation?”

For GDFS, this evening, looked at a much broader aspect of design in comparison with the rest of the programme, with a focus on the economy, strategy and global/social issues and how we can begin to address these.

Speakers included:

Rob Holdway — Co–Founder of Giraffe Innovation
Kerrin Lumsden — Design Leader for Global Brands at DIAGEO
Cara Broadley & Brian Dixon — Institute of Design Innovation, GSofA
Michael Pierre Johnson — Design in Action

Rob Holdway, passionate, fast-paced and engaging, spoke from a product design background, critically examining the inefficiencies within production. Rob highlighted numerous aspects which could be improved, including supermarket packaging and championed the importance of constantly rethinking and re-examining our systems of production, distribution and communication. Rob put his money where his mouth his, showing a number of his recent projects including a design rethink of the Virgin Atlantic inflight meal, which led to a 129kg weight saving per aircraft, which saves Virgin 762 tonnes of fuel per year and 2,400 tones of CO2.

“The world population grows by the number of people who inhabit London every 38 days” – Rob Holdway, on sustainability

Kerrin Lumsden demonstrated the importance and impact design has on the success, sales and profit of a business. Looking at design as a comprehensive process, spanning research, product placement, the development of brand identity, advertising and the importance of cultural values within marketing, he distilled the entire design process into a simple, straightforward journey. Again, Kerrin offered examples and DIAGEO’s case studies where allowing design to lead their approach results in literally millions of pounds of profit.

“Our Brains decode images 60,000 times faster than written words” – Kerrin Lumsden

“Visuals can define culture.” – Kerrin Lumsden

Michael Pierre Johnson introduced us to Design in Action and the incredible work they do. Their Chiasma scheme brings together designers, academics and business-minded individuals to identify social and economical problems, gaps in the market and potential business opportunities. Within a tight 2-day timeframe, within groups, these small teams develop business concepts and are challenged to demonstrate the potential their ideas could have if put into place. Winning groups are then funded to develop these ideas into practicing businesses and to date, Design in Action have launched 15 successful businesses, of which three are already turning over £2M+ and employing 34 staff.

“I think design sometimes has difficulty in articulating it’s value within a business situation” – Michael Pierre Johnson

Taking a step back from the corporate and commercial thread of the evening, Cara Broadley and Brian Dixon, design researchers at the Institute of Design Innovation at Glasgow School of Art, demonstrated the positive effect design thinking and the application of design processes to social problems can have. By conducting careful and intimate research, we can design experiences and more strategic, emotive ways to connect people and bring communities together. It was heart-warming to see design thinking being used for the greater good.

Photographs by Gordon Burniston and Lindsay Perth.

 

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