DESIGN. This word refers to the creation of a plan or convention for the construction of an object or a system (as in architectural blueprints, engineering drawings, businessprocesses, circuit diagrams and sewing patterns). As a consequence, design has different connotations in different fields.

Perhaps this multifarious use, perception and understanding of the word requires constant exploration. As with most ideas throughout history, a first idea is proposed and could grow to reach new tracks diverging from the original idea contents, each individually converging to become a unique speciality. However, over time, we have seen the lines become blurred. Technology is inherent in functioning and has required that we consider the form, function, aesthetics and that we be informed, by design. If design is the idea, then, perhaps development is the momentum imparted to the idea. The movement, growth, physical expression thereof.

2014, A multidisciplinary challenge? WDC2014

In the year that Cape Town celebrated its designation as a World Design Capital 2014 this conference offered all participants a special opportunity to contribute to current thinking and questioning around “design” as a catalyst and strategy for change, considering various topics.

2014 presented a multidisciplinary challenge for all who practice, teach and think about design in their respective disciplines to engage with the question – “how can we use design, manifest across multiple disciplines, to make the world a better place for all to live in ?’’ Professor Ezio Manzini, a global authority on design for sustainability, and one of our DDR keynote speakers, describes design for social innovation as “a process of change emerging from the creative recombinationof existing assets (social capital, historical heritage traditional craftsmanship, accessible advanced technology) […] innovation driven by social demands rather than by the market […] and generated more by the actors involved”.

Aim of the DDR conference

In our constant desire to understand, we interrogate, discuss, debate, tug and twist at ideas, propositions, hypotheses and statements of perceived truth. This fourth iteration of the DDR conference aimed to bring together researchers, academics, scholars, design thinkers and industry practitioners and thus provided a forum for discussion, collaboration, inspiration and presentation on the broad themes of Design, Development and Research. In this context, all people were invited  who believe that design forms part of their personal and professional ambitions, careers, and activities; so we can together improve our understanding of what design can be in our complex contemporary society.

The topics that derive from this exploration could include, but were not limited to:

• Design
• Development
• Technology
• Innovation
• Sustainability
• Education
• Research
• Industry
• Interaction
• Social impacts
• Ethics, legislation, regulation strategy and policy

Target Audience

All people who believe that design forms part of their personal and professional ambitions, careers, and activities. These include designers, researchers, engineers, scientists, managers, environmentalists, entrepreneurs, educators, consultants, technologists, government officials, IT specialists, systems architects, media specialists, architects, planners, developers, artists, etc.