Designers as Change Agents: Perceived Roles in Advancing Sustainability in Organizations on Different Design Utilization Levels

DS 116: Proceedings of the DESIGN2022 17th International Design Conference

Year: 2022
Editor: Mario Štorga, Stanko Škec, Tomislav Martinec, Dorian Marjanović
Author: Floris Van Der Marel, Tua Bj
Series: DESIGN
Institution: Aalto University, Finland
Section: Design for Sustainability
Page(s): 1149-1158
DOI number:
ISSN: 2732-527X (Online)


Design scholarship has long roots in tackling wicked problems and sustainability, yet less is known about how professional designers interact with sustainability issues in practice. Based on interviews with 104 designers in 101 organizations in Finland, this study compares designer perceptions on the role of design in advancing sustainability. We identify six common roles, each with various foci on different design maturity levels in organisations. The findings support managers and designers in understanding which capabilities might be needed in advancing the role of design and sustainability.

Keywords: design practice, sustainability, design maturity, design competences

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