Design for Sustainability
Learn how you can use sustainability science and its principles to design lasting solutions fit for a thriving future for life on Earth.
Every part of human civilization is designed. To the point where we have become dependent on our designs for our very existence and now the future of the global human community literally depends on how we design solutions that can bring us out of the sustainability crisis.
Sustainability is about building the adaptive capacity of society in ways that strengthens the resilience and expands the creative potential of our communities and our organizations. This is important for us so that we together can develop the solutions that enable civilization to thrive on this planet, for generations to come. On an operational level, this comes down to respecting specific scientific sustainability principles when planning, designing, producing, evaluating, using, and ending the life of products, services, policies or structures of organizations or society at large.
As it turns out there are only 8 ways for any system to be unsustainable. To find out what these 8 principles are and how to work with them effectively as design criteria, join our short online course where you will take part in three interactive workshops and engage with resources and peers via our e-learning platform.
You will be equipped with the most relevant frameworks and models from the field of sustainability science as well as new and innovative design methodologies. This will enable you to design and innovate practices, services, products, and systems that promote sustainability. You will have the chance to meet and work together with passionate and aspiring sustainability practitioners. Furthermore, you will be applying key frameworks to your own personal praxis and your own organizational reality.
WORKSHOP 1 – Understanding the Sustainability Challenge & the Scientific Principles of Sustainability:
During a three-hour online session, we will provide you with various frameworks that can help you understand and apply the science of sustainability. In group dialogues, you will then proceed to practice using these frameworks to analyse your cases through these lenses. The goal is to become familiar with the overall language around sustainability and open the perspectives for potential applications of the selected frameworks in your work life. Finally, you will be tasked with an assignment for the upcoming Action Learning Period – it will be around one particular framework that you must apply to a case of your choosing that is real and related to your work (or life).
ACTION LEARNING & PREP PERIOD A – Testing the key framework from W1 in praxis and preparing for next Workshop:
During a two-week period, you will commit to the assignment of applying the key frameworks from Workshop 1 in your working life and take note of its effects and the challenges and possibilities you discover during your attempts to integrate these frameworks in your personal praxis and/or organizational work. The goal is that you become familiar with the appropriate use of the frameworks and identify some of the improvement potentials that are associated with the successful integration of these frameworks in your praxis and in the operations of your organizations. It is also a goal that the frameworks may serve as a reflective prism through which you can see your own professional practice and your organization in new lights.
Via our e-learning platform you will also be provided access to relevant readings for this period and a recorded lecture, that will support and enhance your learning. The lecture is required preparation. Readings are optional. Expect a time commitment of 2-10 hours in between workshops depending on your level of engagement with the assignments and the optional learning resources.
WORKSHOP 2 – Learning from our Praxis and a Deeper Dive into Design Tactics for Sustainability:
What have we learned from testing the framework in our work during Action Learning Period A? – For three-hours online, we will share our experiences and help each other extract and formulate essential insights that we can take away for future improvements to our personal praxis and organizational work. We will then proceed to unfold the broad field of Design for Sustainability (D4S) as we dive deeper into the various tactics and approaches associated with this discipline. The goal is to both broaden and deepen your understanding of the connections between design thinking sustainability, science, and sustainable development. Throughout you will be introduced to relevant frameworks – particularly one central framework will be highlighted from start to finish as a scaffold that can help connect the various approaches and theories. Finally, you will be tasked with an assignment for the upcoming Action Learning Period – it will be based on the framework that you must apply to your chosen relevant case.
ACTION LEARNING & PREP PERIOD B – Testing the central D4S Frameworks and Design Criteria in Praxis:
During a two-week period, you will commit to the assignment of applying the two compatible key frameworks from Workshop 1 and 2 conjunctively in your working life and take note of its effects and the challenges and possibilities you discover during your attempts to integrate these frameworks in your personal praxis and/or organizational work. The goal is that you become familiar with the appropriate use of the frameworks and identify some of the improvement potentials that are associated with the successful integration of these frameworks in your praxis and in the operations of your organizations. It is also a goal that the frameworks may serve as a reflective prism through which you can see your own practice and your organization in new lights.
Via our e-learning platform you will also be provided access to relevant readings for this period and a recorded lecture, that will support and enhance your learning. The lecture is required preparation. Readings are optional.
WORKSHOP 3 – Learning From Our Praxis and Tying It All Together to enable Greater Systemic Impact as You Move on to Contribute to Sustainable Development by Design.
What have we learned from testing the frameworks in our work during Action Learning Period B? – For three-hours online, we will share our experiences and help each other extract and formulate essential insights that we can take away for future improvements to our personal praxis and organizational work. We will then proceed to dive deeper into systemic thinking, systems theory and systems innovation to ultimately explore systemic design as a meta-design discipline that can offer an empowering position from which to intentionally operate from to positively affect the convergence of crises in our time. We will investigate how systems level change takes place through understanding eco-systems cycles. This will simultaneously serve a framework for re-designing system paths for greater sustainability impact. The goal is to achieve a coherent understanding of design for sustainability and its connection to the meta-crisis we find ourselves in, of which COVID-19 is but the most recent symptom of weak and risky systemic designs at a global scale. This should set you up to scale your impact on your journey as a creative and intentional sustainability change agent.
Is This For Me?
Join this course, if you are aspiring to design better solutions and be a sustainability champion through your work. Whether you are a leader, service or product designer, project manager, organizational development consultant or responsible for driving sustainable development this course will help you level up both your design skills and sustainability literacy for the 21st century.
This course will expand your conception of design and so it is also relevant for professionals who do not immediately consider themselves designers, but who take part in constructing elements of the future – such as individuals involved in change, innovation, planning, learning processes or decision making.
This course will also expand your conception of what sustainability is and how design and sustainability can be reconciled and so it is also relevant for professionals who do not currently identify as a sustainability practitioner in their job title, but whom aspire to intentionally incorporate sustainability competencies in their work or become a sustainability champion or simply contribute to more sustainability through their work (by design).
It is not a prerequisite that you are familiar with Design Thinking, product design and sustainability or have a design practice, but it will make it easier for you to adopt and integrate the new theory and methods. It will also be a benefit to you if you are inclined to lateral and/or systemic thinking since design for sustainability ultimately is a systemic innovation practice. If you are not familiar with systems theory, you will be introduced to it on the course.
- Explore various frameworks for understanding the link between design thinking, systems theory, science, and socio-ecological sustainability – specifically you will become familiar with the evidence-based Framework for Strategic Sustainable Development, known from The Natural Step.
- Reflect in groups around perspectives on the present moment in history in relation to sustainability in general – you will have the chance to meet and work with passionate, likeminded people.
- Apply socio-ecological sustainability frameworks to your personal practice/case – you will have the chance to methodically recalibrate your perception of and thinking around the systems, processes, and products you engage with.
- Extract learning and insights that are crucial to strengthen our designs and systems for the future – you will contribute to the co-creation of context specific as well as general learning through an action-learning approach.
The unique KAOSPILOT methodology and pedagogical approach is built around a rigorous training platform that dynamically combines theory, practice, and reflection into a blended learning journey. You will be applying tools and theory, which you will be learning through layered media, practical peer-to-peer exercises, group reflections and individual application in your work context. Our approach enables you to acquire different mindsets for you to apply in your work, including experimentation, exploration, rigorous crafting and taking initiative. This supports your autonomy as a learner and enables you to internalize and operationalize evidence-based theories and proven methods through experience and adaptation to your context. That way the abstract becomes useful and that is how methods become helpful and praxis becomes impactful.
Sustainability is not a frequent topic in digital strategy, marketing, and digital transformation – areas I work with daily. I joined the course with the belief that there’s a lot to be done in my industry. Before driving any change, I needed to have a holistic and comprehensive view of sustainability, beyond carbon emissions and circularity. The course broadened my idea of what the real challenges of the economic systems are, which allowed me to identify grey zones I can influence in my daily job. The content of the course is very relevant to the current issues and offers practical methods of working towards them in a more sustainable and regenerative fashion. However, not being familiar with design thinking and system thinking methods, the learning process was also often challenging and stimulating. The biggest surprise and motivation from the course was the beautiful network of like-minded and concerned changemakers from various backgrounds, who really cared about challenging the status quo. It’s the conversations and assignments we shared, that have built my confidence and enthusiasm towards my role in being a designer and sustainability advocate.
Pawel R. – Brand Marketing Expert & Digital Specialist – Poland
I have had the great pleasure of participating in the course “Design for Sustainability” – a training program that really gave me a better and deeper understanding for the responsibility that we as designers have when it comes to the issue of the sustainability challenge. As was stated during the course “the sustainability crisis is not merely a technical problem – it is in fact primarily a design flaw and a design challenge!”. I can only recommend the course – especially if you are looking to get a ton of useful frameworks and learn about the underlying science, theories and much more – during just 9 hours of effective online education. Thank you for the learning journey!
Victor T. – Process Leader on Building Projects – Denmark
Mikkel dug well and deep in the sustainability field. His analytical and conceptual thinking is astonishing. He built and shared so many useful conceptual frameworks that contain the golden rocks of the design for sustainability field and show the path ahead for the ones that dare to walk forward and leave a good sustainable impact far beyond SDG´s. He is passionate about the topic and he grounds his passion in good research, knowledge and continuous learning.
Mikkel works relentlessly and his energy and drive are highly contagious. I do believe that he made all the effort to show the way forward. Now is the time for people in organizations to step up, take the lead and move ahead. The good news is to find out that you are not alone on that path; Mikkel and the rest of the fellows you meet in the program are walking along too.
Arantxa L., Executive Coach & Strategic Advisor, Spain
Frequently asked questions
What is Design for Sustainability?
Design for Sustainability is a professional program offered by KAOSPILOT where you learn to use sustainability science and its principles to design lasting solutions.
What is Design Thinking for Sustainability about?
Design Thinking for Sustainability is about combining the needs of consumers with the needs of the planet in order to foster sustainability-oriented innovation development of products and solutions.
Do I need to be familiar with Design Thinking to learn how to Design for Sustainability?
You do not need experience with Design Thinking to learn how to Design for Sustainability, but it will make it easier for you understand and integrate the theories and methods.
The next course will be held on September 9th, 16th & October 7th 2021. All days 14.00-17.00 CET
The price for the course is € 750 VAT included
Zoom link will be provided after sign up.
Program Director Mikkel Pilgaard Madsen
Mikkel is Kaospilot alumni and now faculty at Kaospilot. Please read more about Mikkel here
Need any help?
If you experience any problems with registration, please contact
€ 750,00 Incl. VAT