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Social Impact

Understanding the role Design can play in unlocking the power of neighbourhoods; the single biggest unit of societal change.
A place where societies biggest challenges are creatively explored and co-created in virtuous ways.

Where student projects live outside of portfolios and firmly within the real world; winning back agency, affecting policy, providing opportunity and finding better ways of being human.

The social impact challenge lab is a place for collaboration, knowledge and change. We occupy a liminal space somewhere between academia and the real world. A safe and enabling environment, where all are welcome,  where all who engage have the access to re-imagine.
This is an endeavour that can only be collaborative. Need help with a sustainability challenge? Get in touch

What can service Design do?

“Moving to a lower-carbon future is not going to be a great, dramatic transformation – it will be slow and chronic….I hope what comes next is a more focused, locally rooted and inclusive politics based around asking people what they actually need in their lives, and working out how to fit those things within an environmental framework.”
Aditya Chakrabortty, The Guardian

After COP26 we have a destination: huge cuts in carbon emissions.

What we don’t have is a path. How do we integrate millions of EVs into our neighbourhoods? Sensibly install hundreds of thousands of heat pumps into leaky, poorly prepared homes? Adjust our appetites for fast fashion, carbon heavy diets and impulsive travel? And do all that in a way that is fair, thoughtful and even fun?

The Design For Planet Lab aims to help map this path. Through live projects conducted by students and staff and in partnership with NGOs, companies and government, we apply these 4 core elements of service design to the urgency of the climate challenge:

Empathy: Through understanding the habits, dreams, desires and fears of people, we design solutions that people actually want and use.

Systems Thinking: helps us identify how sustainable solutions need to fit into complex social, cultural and economic systems and helps us anticipate the potential unintended consequences of our designs.

Bias To Action: We create prototypes to allow people to experience and react to/against possible sustainable futures.

Fail safely: Rapid prototyping and speculative design allow us to test future scenarios quickly and cheaply. Letting us fail, iterate, improve with the urgency the crisis demands.