SUSTAINABLE DESIGN

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Seeing the wood for the trees

Although sustainable design is a highly complex process, the debate is still often oversimplified, for example by being focused exclusively on the material dimensions of the things we make – what material is it made from? is it recycleable?... or  aspects of production - where was it made? can it be disassembled/easily repaired? and so on.

However if we look at the waste hierarchy the first principle of sustainability is reduce - meaning fewer things being created in the first place, reduced energy needed to create them and by implication an extending of the usefulness and life of the things we do make and use.

We are currently undertaking a key project which builds on these broader, interrelated issues of sustainable design by looking at and questioning our principle long term needs. Taking a strategic approach looking at both the drivers and needs we have now identified a number of 'high-impact' propositions where there is a clear requirement for a more useful, flexible and sustainable solution. 

FUTURE COMMUNICATION

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Personal versus social

We are looking at the next generation of personal and social entertainment and communication devices.

One of the key questions is will portability and media convergence see new product categories appear or will devices increasingly become complex service enablers for our work and leisure needs?

Also how are we as individuals going to access and interact with content and how will content providers understand our needs and differentiate their offerings?

Lastly what place will social media have in future and how will its use affect our notion of identity and self?

EDUCATION

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The games we play

Play is such an important part of children’s education because it engages the capacity for imagination, interaction with the environment – learning by doing and abstract concepts associated with the creation of meaning and understanding of rules.

We are now undertaking research to understand and explore learning through play. The aim of this work is to see where there may be opportunities to design new forms of play through environments which cater for different learning styles.