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Opportunity not responsibility: engaging industrial design students in design for sustainability

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


Journal publication date2011
JournalJournal of Design Research
Number of pages13
Original languageEnglish


This paper argues that to encourage future design practitioners to design for sustainability (DfS), new vocational opportunities need to be explored within education to enable designers to operate beyond traditional product design. Educating for such vocations presents DfS as an opportunity, as opposed to a moral responsibility. Three vocations are proposed from the results of a four-year action research study: first, to use industrial designers' creativity skills to conceptualise new product opportunities; second, to use industrial designers' creativity skills in developing entrepreneurial business ventures that would be profitable; third, to use industrial designers' creativity skills as a DfS consultant to assist businesses, communities or individuals to make the transition to a more sustainable society. Students' reflections upon the vocations are presented as challenges to the vocations present in the industrial design curriculum, as they suggest that changes in the skill set may be required.