Better World by Design

A Better World By Design is a conference that will be held at Brown University and the Rhode Island School of Design November 7-9. It looks very relevant to the Maker Faire Africa ethos, where we’ll be looking for design solutions for everyday needs where the bottom up meets the top down. A great line-up of speakers includes Iqbal Quadir of MIT’s Legatum Center and Grameen Phone, Niti Bhan of Emerging Futures Lab, and Maker Faire Africa and Ushahidi’s own Erik Hersman among many other. Here’s from the BWBD site:

Design is a powerful tool. It makes technology accessible to the masses. It sets apart innovative companies from also-rans. It is the single leading force in the modern creative economy. But a growing number of designers, engineers, and economists are suddenly realizing design’s massive potential to make the world a better place.

Of the 6.7 billion people on planet earth, half live on less than $2 a day. One third lacks access to basic sanitation. This is a problem of massive proportions. But most shocking is the realization that the design solution is simpler and cheaper than any product designed for the developed world.

At the same time, we notice with increasing alarm the rapidity of environmental degradation. Climate change, deforestation, and pollution challenge designers to consider sustainability at the core of their practice. When approached with careful consideration, ecological design has generated some of the most elegant works of our time.

What are designers doing to address these critical issues facing today’s world? How are engineers developing new technologies to improve life on earth? Where are entrepreneurs finding surprising opportunities in this mess? A Better World by Design will attempt to address these questions by demonstrating what professionals and academics are doing to promote sustainable development and change the world for the better.

Over three days, you will hear from dozens of industry leaders about novel approaches and solutions to extreme poverty, access to basic resources, and environmental degradation. Workshops will put theory to practice in the spirit of engineering. And at night, get ready to let loose at our mixer and gala!

Design for a better world is often user-centered, affordable, and simple. As E.F. Schumacher famously put it, “small is beautiful.” The urgency of today’s global crises is making this approach to appropriate technology more relevant than ever.

More at A Better World By Design.

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2 Responses to “Better World by Design”
  1. Congrats to all the Better World By Design conference organizers for putting on an amazing weekend chock full of great speakers, workshops, and conversation.

    For those who couldn’t attend, they’re trying to establish a more official “center” and student resource/catalyst for design that makes life better… check out http://www.betterxdesign.org for more info or to find out how you can support these Brown and RISD students in their ongoing efforts.

    -Emily Pilloton
    Founder, Project H Design
    http://www.projecthdesign.com

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