• A Better World by Design

    Poverty, Industrial Design


    November 7 - 9 at Brown University and RISD in Providence, RI


    A Better World by Design asks the question today’s designers, engineers, and economists should be asking. How can we use technology to improve the world? Hear answers from dozens of world-class professionals and academics in this milestone conference that will change the way you think about global crises and push the limits of user-centric, affordable design.

    Design is a powerful tool. It makes technology accessible to the masses. It sets apart innovative companies from also-rans. It is the single leading force in the modern creative economy. But a growing number of designers, engineers, and economists are suddenly realizing design's massive potential to make the world a better place.

    Of the 6.7 billion people on planet earth, half live on less than $2 a day. One third lacks access to basic sanitation. This is a problem of massive proportions. But most shocking is the realization that the design solution is simpler and cheaper than any product designed for the developed world.

    At the same time, we notice with increasing alarm the rapidity of environmental degradation. Climate change, deforestation, and pollution challenge designers to consider sustainability at the core of their practice. When approached with careful consideration, ecological design has generated some of the most elegant works of our time.

    What are designers doing to address these critical issues facing today's world? How are engineers developing new technologies to improve life on earth? Where are entrepreneurs finding surprising opportunities in this mess? A Better World by Design will attempt to address these questions by demonstrating what professionals and academics are doing to promote sustainable development and change the world for the better.

    Over three days, you will hear from dozens of industry leaders about novel approaches and solutions to extreme poverty, access to basic resources, and environmental degradation. Workshops will put theory to practice in the spirit of engineering. And at night, get ready to let loose at our mixer and gala!

    Design for a better world is often user-centered, affordable, and simple. As E.F. Schumacher famously put it, "small is beautiful." The urgency of today's global crises is making this approach to appropriate technology more relevant than ever.

    Keynote speakers: Iqbal Quadir, founder of GrameenPhone, and Cameron Sinclair, founder of Architecture for Humanity

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