Sustainability Seminar - Brave New World: Designing for Sustainability

Wednesday, May 16, 2018 - 15:00 to 17:00

Copenhagen Business School, Dalgas Have DH 2Ø.071 (The 2nd floor, east wing of the building)

How do we design for a sustainable future? When designing organizations or products, one usually thinks five to ten years ahead, with the implicit idea that the things we create will disappear after their lifespan. Can we even think of user-friendly products that lasts for 200 years? Can science fiction as a conceptual playground help us envision a more sustainable future? Together with Kirsti Reitan Andersen (Dep. of Management, Society and Communication, CBS) and Mads Bødker (Dep. of Digitalization, CBS) this session will discuss radical and more incremental ways to grasp and understand long distance views and thereby challenge the current short-sighted tool-thinking within designing sustainable products and strategies.

  • Kirsti Reitan Andersen has done elaborate research in the textile and fashion industry. Within this context she has explored the use of design thinking as a tool for organizational change towards sustainability. Arguably, design thinking is a proven tool for the development of e.g. user-friendly products and services. It is not, however, going to radically transform or save your business. In this session, Kirsti will introduce us to ideas of design thinking as well as put focus on the role of manufacturers and their “bodily knowledge” in product development.  Drawing on multiple disciplines, design thinking is meant to encompass everything that is good about design. More recently it has also been adopted as a means to change organizational practices, for example, towards practicing sustainability. Drawing on her fieldwork in the textile and fashion industry, Kirsti will discuss the potential merits and limitations of design thinking as a tool for sustainable innovation. Moreover, less tool-oriented routes to product development will be considered.
  • Contrary to orthodox design-thinking, the power of (science-) fiction and far future speculation seems underserved when it comes to designing for sustainability. Unconvinced by mainstream ‘tool-based’ or text-book approaches to design, Mads Bødker will discuss how more conceptual and indeed speculative approaches to the future (and to future things) might contribute to the reflective vocabularies and new vectors for sustainability. Currently, stepping a bit out of the customary scholarly, analytical ways of working, he explores how writing science fiction or speculative future short stories might help examine some of these new ideas. What happens, he asks, when we look ahead 100 or even 500 years, instead of the usual short-term goal setting? How might practices and values be transformed in the light of progressively complex futures, and how do these far futures contribute to the present ways of thinking? Mads will help us appreciate far future scenarios, not as predictive vehicles, but as tentative and value-centered, speculative ‘guides' to futures in which the speed of change and uncertainty accelerates.


Please sign up until the 12. May 2018 by sending an email to Lot Elshuis,

The page was last edited by: Centre for Sustainability // 02/22/2021