Metadesign Tools

M21 Research Group presents a 2-day workshop
Friday 29th February and Saturday 1st March 2008

venue is a carbon-negative (external link) building

this research event was at the Pines Calyx venue (external link)
16 experts tested some of our Metadesign Tools
during a complex programme of filmed workshops

(How) Can Designers save the Planet?

  • If society wants to reduce its ecological footprint - who could contribute more than designers?
  • Unfortunately, most designers find themselves at the front line of a relentless quest for economic growth.
  • Indeed, economic forces are so powerful that well-intentioned designers can even do more harm than good.
  • For example, designing a 'greener' car could increase car sales, leading to greater (net ) energy consumption.
  • Effective change therefore needs to occur in many ways that are top-down, bottom-up, holistic, imaginative, and systemic.


Why do we need to re-design design?

  • Most designers are trained as specialist 'mercenaries', rather than entrepreneurs who expect to inspire high-level change.
  • But what would happen if we could bring them together in a wiser, cross-disciplinary metadesign profession?
  • Our m21 project has been exploring ways to bring about what Buckminster Fuller called a synergy-of-synergies (external link).
  • This would not only entail working across the known disciplines of design, but also thinking about 'governance-by-design'.
  • This is highly ambitious. It raises many questions on many levels. Designers first need to imagine what it might mean.

What did designers and architects do in this workshop?

  • Working collaboratively, selected experts were invited to test-run some of our metadesign tools and methodologies.
  • Some of these tools are designed to help the integration of different specialists within working teams.
  • We asked them to participate constructively and creatively, moving beyond the evaluation process to develop the tools.

Who attended the workshop?

  • The event brought together 10 designers from 5 different design specialism, working in 2 metadesign teams.
  • We are delighted with the response we have had from distinguished practitioners (See the full list of names).
  • The workshops will be monitored by 6 distinguished consultants, including 2 experts with knowledge of economics / currencies.
  • 9 of our research team will facilitate this 2-day workshop, hosted by Jae Mather (external link) (one of the Pines Calyx Team (external link))

Template of letter to Pines Calyx guests
Find out how to get there (external link)