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Re: Social value of Design?

Posted: April 25th, 2010, 5:54 am
by nunoCR
Ultimately, it comes down to the relationship between the design and society. So it can have a social value or it can't, depending on the structure of society and it's economy. Being a tool, design, just like science, can be used for the betterment of society as it can be used for it's detriment.

In our current society, design is mostly used as a mean to increase profit by companies, as hey also stated.
That means that any unprofitable use of design is discouraged, and this aspect has deep social ramifications, since established corporate/financial orders have a built in tendency to stop new, socially positive advents from coming to fruition, if there is a foreshadowed loss of market share, profit and hence power.

I agree that Design is a conduit for technology, it is not limited to products, it can be applied to social systems as well, because societies are technical constructs.

Re: Social value of Design?

Posted: April 25th, 2010, 6:37 am
by product tank
I guess there's a few different questions being asked and answered in this topic, but just focusing on the first question, also the title of this topic 'social value of design:

Assuming that we're all referring to 'design' as industrial or product, the encasing of technology within a housing an improvement of function etc.
greenman wrote:On a one on one basis between an Apple customer and their product there is a limited measurement of happiness, but consider the sharing of experiences between Apple customers and their friends and family about that limited measure, it is something that spreads. People like to see their friends and family happy, they will socially accept the things that provide that.
Is this something that the technology is doing, or the product design? I'm typing this on a Dell computer, you could be viewing it on any number of different styles/makes of computer, or on an i-phone etc. What's giving you the social connectivity, it's not the vessel, but the technology within, which was designed, but not under the banner of industrial/product design.

I thought about this over night. Design makes tasks quicker and easier, which gives us more time to be social in a context outside of a working environment. However it's Technology that makes us more or less social, so taken in a literal sense. I still don't think design has social value.

Re: Social value of Design?

Posted: April 25th, 2010, 11:26 am
by Greenman
product tank wrote: Is this something that the technology is doing, or the product design? I'm typing this on a Dell computer, you could be viewing it on any number of different styles/makes of computer, or on an i-phone etc. What's giving you the social connectivity, it's not the vessel, but the technology within, which was designed, but not under the banner of industrial/product design.

I thought about this over night. Design makes tasks quicker and easier, which gives us more time to be social in a context outside of a working environment. However it's Technology that makes us more or less social, so taken in a literal sense. I still don't think design has social value.
I'm typing this on a computer that I built out of many different components from many different manufacturers, by itself it doesn't give any social value aside from me talking about building my own computer and some folks being mildly impressed with that giving me an increment of pride. But you're right, it wasn't put together under the banner of ID, it was put together under the banner of social intent, so that I could use it to get online and interact with you fine folks. The technology of the components was important to me and I spec'ed the ones that would make my tasks quicker and easier. What they look like, whether they are ergonomic, is moot, they're part of a system in a case.

I still think that ID contributes, but not by standing alone, Art yes, ID no. Combining technology, with a portal/interface, with people has social value. Combining technology, with transportation (mass transit), with people has social value. Combining technology, with architecture, with people has social value. I think ID can contribute to solving problems by combining these aspects into something positive.
hey wrote:If the business that design is trying to serve isn't about improving people's quality of life, then it's very hard for design to be the "savior", because it's not.

Not saying that design cannot add this nice quality to the business offerings, but if you(the designer) cannot convince your budget owners that this will benefit his business and its stakeholders and make them more bucks, then to them it's a risk. Ultimately, it's all about the priority of the business. If the business runners are truly about their customers and not about keeping their own pay checks coming, then designers will have a much easier job.
In regards to the talk of business students being taught it's their job to increase the bottom line and put money in the stake-holders pockets, well that's capitalism in a nutshell. What we're seeing in the US is folks on Wall Street inventing new ways to make money to avoid regulation and make huge profits, they're not gaming the system, they're creating their own and letting the government sort it out.

Don't ever kid yourself, business runners only care about their customers to the extent of keeping them as customers and getting their money and they will tell any story, feign any compassion or understanding to do so to maintain brand integrity. Capitalism has many up-sides, but unfortunately it is usually a very dis-compassionate endeavor. Oh, and it's also an old-fashioned fabricated construct of man that will eventually crumble under the weight of all the greed and give way to something better.

Re: Social value of Design?

Posted: April 25th, 2010, 12:04 pm
by jehan
Greenman wrote:In regards to the talk of business students being taught it's their job to increase the bottom line and put money in the stake-holders pockets, well that's capitalism in a nutshell. What we're seeing in the US is folks on Wall Street inventing new ways to make money to avoid regulation and make huge profits, they're not gaming the system, they're creating their own and letting the government sort it out.

Don't ever kid yourself, business runners only care about their customers to the extent of keeping them as customers and getting their money and they will tell any story, feign any compassion or understanding to do so to maintain brand integrity. Capitalism has many up-sides, but unfortunately it is usually a very dis-compassionate endeavor. Oh, and it's also an old-fashioned fabricated construct of man that will eventually crumble under the weight of all the greed and give way to something better.
say what you want about capitalism and corporations, but this is the system responsible our current society, with the best standard of living that the human race has ever seen. The problem with compassion is that it is a form of domination over others. "I'm much better than you, but here, maybe I can flick you a few bones to help you scrape a living". Business in comparison is quite honest in it's intentions. It's all about the deal, and if you didn't do your research and got tricked, it's on you. OF COURSE, there need to be the proper laws and regulations to prevent outrageous abuses.

look at africa, where has 50 years of compassion gotten it? Large populations are kept straggling along on the edge of survival by food and medical donations. When something goes wrong, the charities pull out and millions die, generating headlines that boost charitable donations. Compassion has managed to keep africa in a constant state of collapse for several generations now.

In asia, on the other hand, we have mostly just been buying their stuff. You can scream and whine about child labor and other abuses, but they have brought themselves up to a much better standard of living through hard work and commerce. If these sweatshop jobs are so terrible, why do people keep taking them? BECAUSE the alternative is worse. Sweatshops and child labor will be eliminated in due course as these countries transition to a state of full development, just like they were in the US and Europe.

Re: Social value of Design?

Posted: April 25th, 2010, 7:02 pm
by nunoCR
jehan wrote:say what you want about capitalism and corporations, but this is the system responsible our current society, with the best standard of living that the human race has ever seen.
Standard of living is based primarily on income, not to be confused with quality of life, in which case capitalism overall did not contribute much for in comparison to other scientific advances.
jehan wrote:The problem with compassion is that it is a form of domination over others. "I'm much better than you, but here, maybe I can flick you a few bones to help you scrape a living".
I wouldn't call that compassionate behavior at all, but it is true, it is as compassionate as we can be today.
jehan wrote:Business in comparison is quite honest in it's intentions.
Honest about being dishonest... people can't trust each other nor be really ethical in this economic system.
jehan wrote:OF COURSE, there need to be the proper laws and regulations to prevent outrageous abuses.
William McDonough said "If we look at a regulation, it’s a signal of design failure. A regulation is a signal of design failure because the state is stepping in, saying, “Wait a minute, we never gave you the right to kill. We’ll tell you at what rate you
can dispense death.” I couldn't agree more here, but i leave you all with the question, what is causing the failure? Where is the flaw in our social design?
jehan wrote:look at africa...
Africa, especially sub-Saharan regions, have been victims of corporate/financial theft basically, nothing to do with mismanaged "compassion". They have been driven to huge debts through the World Bank and the IMF, and their resources are practically given away as a result, they are not used for the benefit of it's habitants. I dare to say they have been turned to modern slaves, except instead of at least being housed and fed, they are forced to feed and house them selves.
jehan wrote:Sweatshops and child labor will be eliminated in due course as these countries transition to a state of full development, just like they were in the US and Europe.
The way things are going, i doubt it, unless companies resort to full automation, but that would cause a huge negative impact in this economic system, since it would kill jobs.

Only time will tell.

Re: Social value of Design?

Posted: May 24th, 2010, 9:46 pm
by jeanlerymc
nunoCR wrote:Ultimately, it comes down to the relationship between the design and society. So it can have a social value or it can't, depending on the structure of society and it's economy. Being a tool, design, just like science, can be used for the betterment of society as it can be used for it's detriment.

In our current society, design is mostly used as a mean to increase profit by companies, as hey also stated.
That means that any unprofitable use of design is discouraged, and this aspect has deep social ramifications, since established corporate/financial orders have a built in tendency to stop new, socially positive advents from coming to fruition, if there is a foreshadowed loss of market share, profit and hence power.

I agree that Design is a conduit for technology, it is not limited to products, it can be applied to social systems as well, because societies are technical constructs.
I agree on your opinion regarding Science. It contributes a lot in the improvement of every society. Science gives the idea in creating more developments, together with it's different branches.