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Writer and academic Jeremy Myerson explores how social challenges can catalyse design-led innovation in industry. Rather than seeing such issues as ageing populations, growing healthcare needs or climate change as a problem or a crisis, designers can reframe social challenges as creative opportunities for change.
Myerson draws on commissioned projects from his recent New Old exhibition on design for our future selves at the Design Museum to support his case, and references the Danish design thinker Jens Bernsen who said that ‘a good problem is a gift’. He argues that in reaping a design dividend from social challenges, designers should replace abstraction and scaling up - two of the dominant characteristics of late 20th century design - with a new, more human approach based on specificity and scaling down.