*John Knight, Aalto University, Finland
Chirryl-Lee Ryan, Idean, US
Francesca Tassistro, Avanade,Italy
Arne van Oosterom, Design Thinkers Group, Netherlands
Joyce Yee, University of Northumbria, UK
Daniel Fitton, University of Central Lancashire, UK
Louise Valentine, University of Dundee, UK
Satu Miettinen, University of Lapland, Finland
*contact: john.knight@aalto.fi

This track aims to explore current trends, theories and practices in digital design. This growing area of practice is underpinned by the growth of the broader digital economy. This is where Design Thinking transmutes from intellectual possibility to social and economic capital and where traditional notions of design practice, applied to the consumption of immutable products and services is disrupted. The implications of these radical changes need the full focus from the design community in order to ensure that we align education, research and practice to the trajectory of the digital economy.

As well as having relevance to the wider world, the digital context of design is also critical in shaping practice. This context goes far beyond accounting for the unique characteristics of digital materials and includes how, why, where and when design is done. For example, the tools and processes used to turn digital material into tangible products and services are distinctively different from traditional design domains.

Understanding the present, will form the basis of defining the necessary foundations for developing solutions to the future. This future orientation includes how design education and industry practice might evolve and also align more productively than at present. To do this, examples, cases, reflections and explorations of pertinent theoretical and practice-based work is sought to help define, develop and explore. The track will address these wide-ranging issues and specifically focus on the following topics:

  • Reflections on current industry practice, including real-world examples of applied design methods, methodologies, agile and lean ways of working and cross-disciplinarity between digital designers and other disciplines;
  • Understanding industry’s needs in terms of current and future digital design skills, capabilities and competencies including the adoption, use and trajectory of digital tools;
  • Theoretical and practice-based accounts and challenges to existing digital practices in the broadest sense and specifically relating to user experience and service design;
  • Explorations on the role that design plays, within tactical and strategic end-to-end digital product and service production and consumption; and
  • Studies relating to the digital economy, with a specific focus on opportunities and threats to design theory and practice; and
  • Future oriented studies that provide insights into how digital data might transform practice, outcomes and methods within the digital economy.

Indicative References

Ehn, P. 1998. Manifesto for a Digital Bauhaus. Digital Creativity, 9(4).

The Design Council. 2018. The Design Economy 2018 The State of Design in the UK. https://www.designcouncil.org.uk/resources/report/design-economy-2018 [Accessed 10/09/2018]

Guile, D. 2010. Learning to Work in the Creative and Cultural Sector: New Spaces, Pedagogies and Expertise. Journal of Education Policy, 24:4, pp. 465–484.

Knight, J. 2017. ‘Go with the Flow: Accelerated Digital Design in the Age of Post-agility’. In: The Design Journal. Routledge, 20(sup1), pp. S2700–S2715. doi: 10.1080/14606925.2017.1352781.

Martinez-Maldonado, R., Goodyear, P., Carvalho, L., Thompson, K., HernandezLeo, D., Dimitriadis, Y., et al. 2017. Supporting Collaborative Design Activity in a Multi-user Digital Design Ecology. Comp. Hum. Behav. 71, 327–342. doi: 10.1016/j.chb.2017.01.055