Design for Social Innovation
Examine the myriad ways that design interacts with culture, society, technology, and the environment.
Design for Social Innovation examines the relationship between design and culture, society, technology, and the environment. It explores how they impact each other and delves into the theoretical and practical connections between them.
In this field, we undertake a variety of research. Our research focuses on how design shapes, and is shaped by, cultural beliefs, values, norms, institutions, relations, and practices. Research themes we pursue include design for more-than-human worlds, indigenous cultures and narratives, sustainable design, and transition design.
Research in this area aims to have a positive impact on the way people live and work. We seek creative solutions to some of the social, environmental, and cultural challenges facing our world.
|Research topic||Staff who can supervise research in this area|
|Design ethnography||Bobby Luke, Rosie Scott, Jennifer Whitty|
Rosie Scott, Jennifer Whitty
|Hannah Goldblatt, Bobby Luke, Jennifer Whitty|
Fashion design for sustainability
|Bobby Luke, Jennifer Whitty|
|Indigenous cultures and narratives||Nan O'Sullivan, David Hakaraia, Bobby Luke, Edgar Rodriguez, Tuakana Metuarau, Jennifer Whitty|
|Service design||Nan O'Sullivan, Dana Fridman, Leon Gurevitch|
|Sustainable design||Tonya Sweet, Leon Gurevitch, Jennifer Whitty|
|Transition design||Nan O'Sullivan, Tonya Sweet, Bobby Luke, Jennifer Whitty|
|Theories of Change||Nan O'Sullivan, Jennifer Whitty|
Design Research Labs
The C.R.I.S.I.S. (Critical Resilience through Innovative Solutions in Sustainability) Design Research Innovation Lab supports design-led responses to sustainability challenges impacting Aotearoa New Zealand and beyond. Our research promotes awareness, resilience, and the development of design provocations and solutions that address “wicked” issues and the transition to sustainable socio-ecological futures.
For more see C.R.I.S.I.S.
The More-Than-Human Lab uses critical and creative means to engage the political, ethical, environmental, and affective dimensions of human relations with other forms of life. We are dedicated to imagining what lies beyond human-centred design.
For more see More-Than-Human.
Social Design Lab
Social Design Lab positions social and cultural issues as highly relevant to contemporary design research and situates them as central points of departure for our investigations. The research projects cultivated in this stream employ critical, creative approaches to their explorations of indigenous culture, society, politics, economics, technology and the environment.
For more see Social Design Lab.
The following postgraduate programmes allow you to pursue research in the area of design for social innovation:
Master of Design (MDes)
The MDes allows you to further develop your critical thinking and discussion skills, increase your understanding of design, and learn to express your own ideas and conclusions within a theoretical framework.
Find out more about the Master of Design (MDes).
Master of Design Innovation (MDI)
The MDI delves deep into the process of innovation, from conception to design to construction. Through independent research, you'll gain the specialist skills and knowledge you need to be a successful professional in the design industry.
Find out more about the Master of Design Innovation (MDI).
On our PhD programme, you'll produce an original body of research that expands the design discipline. Your work will be largely independently driven, with two supervisors available to advise you. Typically the PhD is studied on-site, but in suitable cases it may be studied by distance.
Find out more about the PhD.