CATALYZING the Conversation: Designing Wellbeing For All and Each
Dr. Mary McBride
Issue 5 Fall 2010
Designing wellbeing requires an understanding of interconnectedness and interdependency. Wellbeing cannot be designed in after business strategy. Ideally, the intention of wellbeing informs all we shape, make and use. In this issue of CATALYST, we explore how the strategic design of products and processes can create economic value while enhancing wellbeing.
When strategic design intelligence is used at the “fuzzy front end,” it can create alternatives that are cost effective and toxin free. Chemicals of concern can be screened out and wellbeing designed in. This issue provides examples of food-based paint that smells like a milk shake and contains no polyvinyl acrylic and welding processes that reduce the use of argon gas to zero. Both alternatives are cost effective and contribute to wellbeing.
This issue of CATALYST demonstrates that it is possible to design a future with robust wellbeing as the core of the design brief. We present research that argues that
design-driven innovation is essential to the engagement of users in the selection of choices and adoption of behaviors that enhance wellbeing.
As we send out this issue, we watch the petrochemical economy threaten the livelihoods of citizens and the security of states as BP continues to mop up its mess. The petrochemical economy is, at core, an unsustainable one. It now produces economic value for a few at a significant cost to the many. It trades off human health for limited short-term return on investment. And, as we now see with BP, it puts our world at risk.
We invite you, our readers, to move beyond petroleum and its politics of loss. We invite you to read about the individuals and organizations designing for a new economy and redefining the role strategic design plays in policy making and social innovation in communities and countries around our shared world. We invite you to act on your intuition, inspire each other and use your skills and intelligence to change the way we trade, exchange and create economic value.