In 2009, the RSA Design Directions scheme posed a set of diverse design challenges to students that covered areas that included product design, graphic design, technology and service design.
With the co-design of services taking root as a key part of the briefs that feature in the scheme, several in particular challenged students to propose services that responded to specific social needs.
As a result the outcomes included proposals for new community-based networks to support older people, a package of proposals suggesting how prisons might improve the prison visit experience as well as practical and innovative solutions to issues such as post office closures, bicycle theft and designing for public spaces that are safe in times of heightened security.
The evidence of the display of winning work described here, demonstrates the appetite of emerging young designers to grapple with some of the more intractable social challenges in contemporary life and to suggest solutions that are thoughtful, design led and socially driven.
A ‘new deal’ for key workers — including a £500 thank you bonus, extended sick pay and paying the real living wage — is needed to reward them for their heroic efforts during the pandemic.