Prof. Steven Eppinger and Prof. Anja Maier
Title of Presentation:
Responsible Design: Recognising the Impact of How We Design
Date & time:
Tuesday 6th of August 18:00
Steven Eppinger is Professor of Management Science and Innovation at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sloan School of Management where he holds the General Motors Leaders for Global Operations Chair. Prof. Eppinger teaches interdisciplinary courses at both the masters and executive levels in product design and innovation, engineering project management, and digital product management. He has co-authored a leading textbook entitled Product Design and Development (McGraw-Hill). Recently released in its seventh edition, the text has been translated into several languages and used by hundreds of universities and hundreds of thousands of students. Dr. Eppinger’s research is applied to improving complex technical projects in a wide range of industries and is the basis of the book titled Design Structure Matrix Methods and Applications (MIT Press). His research contributes to fields ranging from project management and systems engineering to product development and product management. He is one of the most widely cited scholars in the engineering design and technical management disciplines. Prof. Eppinger is the Co-Director of MIT’s masters degree programs in System Design and Management (SDM) and Integrated Design and Management (IDM). He served as Deputy Dean of the MIT Sloan School of Management for five years and has held a joint appointment at MIT in the Engineering Systems Division. Prof. Eppinger serves on the Advisory Board of the worldwide Design Society and on the editorial boards of several academic journals. He received S.B., S.M., and Sc.D. degrees from MIT’s Department of Mechanical Engineering.
Anja Maier is Professor of Engineering Systems Design at the DTU – Technical University of Denmark, Department of Technology, Management, and Economics, where she leads the Engineering Systems Group. Prof Maier teaches design and innovation courses at masters and continuing education levels, including design of engineering systems and management of change in engineering systems. Linking the human and engineering sides in systems design with a focus on studying and supporting human behaviour, the overarching goal of her research is design process improvement. Prof. Maier’s research results in engineering systems design have had direct impact on the design and development of automobile and aero engines, healthcare services, medical devices, and cleantech networks. In particular, her work on system design process maturity and capability maturity assessment methods is frequently cited. Prof. Maier serves on the Advisory Board of the worldwide Design Society, on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Engineering Design, and as Associate Editor of the journal Design Science. She was member of the Organising Committee of ICED11 in Copenhagen, Denmark and Programme Committee Chair of ICED17 in Vancouver, Canada. Prof. Maier is Fellow of the National Academy of Science and Engineering (acatech), Germany and Fellow of the National Academy of Technical Sciences (atv), Denmark. She received the M.A. degree in political science, communication science, and philosophy from the University of Muenster, Germany and the Ph.D. degree in engineering design from the Department of Engineering, University of Cambridge, UK.
Responsible Design: Recognising the Impact of How We Design
We live in a period during which human activity is the dominant influence on climate and the environment. Schoolchildren across the world take to the streets calling on all of us –individuals, businesses, and governments – to act responsibly for the future of humanity. University students demand education on doing well by doing good. Member states of the United Nations have committed to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Realising sustainable futures inclusive of a good information society certainly sounds attractive to students, business, and governments alike, and we certainly notice heightened awareness and a sense of urgency to tackle large-scale and interconnected challenges such as clean energy, global health, and well-being. Yet, the focus on complex, global challenges has perhaps made it more difficult for individual designers, engineers, and entrepreneurs to feel that their own actions can have a direct impact. Having said this, we also notice that many individuals, businesses, and governments are beginning to ask how might we foresee the impact of the physical and digital products, services, experiences and systems solutions we create. The term “responsible design” is now gaining traction.
Still, we can all think of examples of ‘successful design’ that is harmful to people, damaging to the environment, or bad for our society. We need to recognise our responsibility to change this trajectory, learn from examples of responsible design, and accept the responsibility to make the necessary changes in our own design practice, to achieve system-level change, creating solutions that are regenerative in nature. Many of us are familiar with the 3-point design challenge — desirability, feasibility, and viability. These terms conveniently map to three critical disciplines closely associated with successful design — market, technical, and business.
We believe that responsible design is now critical for successful design and thus needs to be part of our community’s discussion, curriculum, and practice. To achieve this goal, we must articulate what responsible design might mean and how we can act accordingly. We offer a definition of responsible design that focuses on responsible behaviour, environmental responsibility, and social responsibility. We illustrate these principles using examples drawn from energy, health care, food, automobile, consumer electronics, and other domains. We propose responsible design as a collective journey that requires the actions of individual designers and design teams. This transition will also affect the nature of innovation processes and the structure of organisations where they take place. The practice of responsible design offers the possibility to engage generations of designers, engineers, entrepreneurs, business, and policy makers to make a difference in our own society through our future products, services, and system solutions.
Finally, based on a survey conducted in the lead-up to the conference, in this keynote, we provide a glimpse into how members of the worldwide Design Society are working with the Sustainable Development Goals in research, teaching, and societal outreach.