What we do
Can we deliberately design products and services that increase the well-being of individuals and communities?
This question fuels our institute. We strongly believe that it is our responsibility as design researchers to generate knowledge that enables designers to formulate effective strategies in contributing to the happiness of people. This knowledge should not only help designers in their attempts to deliberately design for meaningful product-user relationships, but ultimately also to design products that contribute to a healthy society: to make the world a better place. That is why the DIOPD was established in 2011:
“To initiate and stimulate the development of knowledge that supports designers in their attempts to design for happiness, for human flourishing.”
Why we do this
Since the industrial revolution, all of our society – our workplaces, homes, transportation, and communication, have increasingly become infused with design. This impressive boost in material wealth did, however, not seem to result in an equal increase in subjective well-being. Research has shown that our dishwashers, computers, radios, cars, and other products we are surrounded with, do not make us particularly happy. This observation is, however, in strong contrast with the aspirations of many designers and design students: to make a positive contribution with their designs to the individual user, and to society in general.
Positive Design Manifest
(1) creates possibilities
Positive Design envisions and realizes optimistic futures. Rather than merely reducing people’s problems, it offers them opportunities to improve their wellbeing.
(2) supports human flourishing
Positive Design uplifts people. It enables and inspires people to develop their talents, to increase their freedom, to deepen their relationships, and to contribute to their communities.
(3) enables meaningful activities.
Positive Design encourages people to balance pleasure and virtue. It stimulates people to engage in meaningful activities that are rooted in their deeply held values.
(4) embraces rich experiences.
Positive Design affects the complete pallet of human experiences. Beyond short-term pleasures, it focuses on lasting experiences that involve both positive and negative emotions.
(5) accepts responsibility
Positive Design is genuine in its purpose and intention. It takes responsibility for its short- and long-term impact on individuals as well as on communities and society.