m21 research project

How Might We Make Our Lifestyles More Synergistic?

  • This question continues our (2005) ds21 research - whose context is the failure of design for sustainability.
  • Our research asks whether metadesign methods could facilitate a possible 'synergy-of-synergies'.
  • The project's agreed objectives are to create some metadesign tools and to draft possible international standards.
  • ‘Sustainable development’ is elusive in a dysfunctional society that sees economy and ecology as almost entirely separate.
  • Where bureaucratic 'techno-fixes’ address symptoms, rather than causes, ‘design thinking’ offers a deeper approach.
  • Therefore, although designers have enormous, untapped potential, they are mainly employed to increase economic growth.
  • If they were able to work at a higher level they could help create genuine lifestyle changes (not just products or services).
  • Unfortunately, traditional models of design are not well suited to create, and sustain a state of living consensus.
  • Our (AHRC-funded) research has developed a ‘metadesign’ approach that enables designers to intervene at a higher organizational level.
  • Here, we define ‘metadesign’ as a set of consensual, cross-disciplinary practices that ‘designs itself’ via team-oriented methods.
  • This approach is intended to synergise existing synergies, and/or to uncover new ones in unexpected places.
  • Our aims are guided by a manifesto, ten principles and numerous international publications, including audio-visual resources.
  • It is managed via a benchmarking system, and facilitated with over 90 tools.
  • All our resources are available for distribution to to appropriate designers, companies and universities, subject to approval and agreement.