Ben Reason

Director, LiveWork

Design Principles For Times Of Change

18 mins
Broader impact & change through design


About The Speaker

I am a founder of Livework, a service design studio based in London, Rotterdam, and Sao Paolo. Livework is a pioneer of Service Design and remains proudly independent. I am a co-author of two books; Service Design: From Insight to Implementation and Service Design for Business. I have been part of leading the use of service design in government and public services and the use of service design by industrial firms to help them transition to services.

I have, since Livework’s inception, been fascinated by the potential for service thinking to transform the relationships between people and between people and the material world.

Design Principles For Times Of Change

Design has played a key role in the development of our industrial consumer society. Given the climate and environmental emergency this society is not sustainable in its current form – let alone to bring millions of more people up to western standards of living. We need to dramatically reduce our impact and part of doing that has to be simply consuming less. Can design adapt and play a valuable role in making this a transition rather than a crisis?

My hypothesis is this is a desirable state but we don’t know how to get there. To do so there could be a role for design to help people in the transition in a similar way to how designs help people adopt and consume. I think this would need to be a more collective, collaborative form of design.

The challenge for designers is that we too must make a transition. Can we play a role in re-focussing our clients and large organizations or do we need to step into new roles in new emerging communities?

Key Takeaways


Design is relevant and necessary.


Wicked problems need a design response.


Design principles need to be reapplied.

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