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IN SESSION - Expand: Stretching The Future By Design

As the boundaries of societal problems expand in terms of speed, scale and impact, where does design need to go next to address our greatest challenges? Human-centred design and design thinking are today well established, but do we need to look beyond them to shape the next wave of social innovation? In this session, Danish Design Center CEO Christian Bason, a political scientist and co-author of a new book called Expand, is in conversation with two academics who have pioneered social change through design research – Mariana Amatullo of The New School at Parsons School of Design and Jeremy Myerson of the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design, Royal College of Art. From reimagining healthcare to humanising our digital lives in the age of AI, this session probed the difficult questions around the limits of design – and what can be achieved with an ambitious new blueprint for sustainable innovators.

Interactive polls with over 300 participants informed us that:

  • 45% of the attendees are fairly confident that design has the capacity to address expanding societal challenges
  • 48% think that today's designers lack relevant theory and tools in addressing societal challenges whereas 11% reported that a totally new approach is required
  • 41% believe that the most pressing challenge that design should address is climate emergency, followed by 27% who voted for social inequality and 14% who voted for mental health and thriving.


Christian Bason

Christian Bason, PhD, leads the Danish Design Center (DDC), a non-profit foundation backed by the Danish government. Writer, author, speaker, moderator. Committed to advancing the value of design for people, organizations, strategy, governance, policy, society – and our planet. Christian is the author of eight books on innovation, design and leadership, including Expand: Stretching the Future by Design (2022).

Use the code EXPAND35 for 35% off the retail price for the hardcover. Enter www.benbellabooks.com and create an account, select the book and add the code at checkout to receive the discount.

Dr Mariana Amatullo

Vice Provost and Academic Dean for Continuing and Professional Education, The New School, where she has been focused on developing a design-centric vision for Parsons Executive Education. Dr. Amatullo’s teaching and scholarship are at the intersection of the design and management fields and examine the impact of designers on social innovation initiatives. Mariana co-edited Design for Social Innovation, Case Studies from Around the World (2022)The book marks the first attempt to define the contours of a global overview that showcases the cultural, economic, and organizational levers propelling design for social innovation forward today.

Jeremy Myerson

Professor Emeritus, Helen Hamlyn Chair of Design, RCA

Professor Emeritus Jeremy Myerson is the first-ever holder of the Helen Hamlyn Chair of Design. An academic, author and activist in design for more than 40 years, he began his working life as a journalist and was founder-editor of Design Week in 1986. He co-founded the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design at the RCA in 1999, and his research interests focus on the role of design in social, demographic and technological change. A graduate of the RCA, Jeremy Myerson is also director of the WORKTECH Academy and a Visiting Professorial Fellow at the Oxford Institute for Population Ageing. He leads Design Thinking and the Future of Work innovation masterclasses for RCA Executive Education.

Jeremy's latest book: Unworking: The Reinvention of the Modern Office

More information

To find more about the emergent role of design within the landscape of innovation, book your place on our upcoming Design Thinking & Innovation Masterclass in collaboration with the Design Museum 2 & 3 May 2023.

Design Thinking & Innovation Masterclass in collaboration with the Design Museum

Contact us

Get in touch if you'd like to find out more about the IN SESSION: talks

Email us at short-courses@rca.ac.uk
Executive Education