Sustainable Development Requires an Integrated Design Discipline to Address Unique Problems

  • Rui Helder Dos Santos Martins
Keywords: design thinking, sustainable development, systems thinking


Sustainable development has taken centre stage in our global conscience. Until recently, wehave been focused on economic prosperity, driven by the mechanistic worldviewof the scientific method. Once the cracks appeared, as a society, we have beenlooking for a deeper meaning and approach to life. Through a literature review,the paper proposes that current ‘experts’, using the engineering profession asan example, are not able to address the wicked problems confronting us, sincethey prevail within the reductionist mode of knowledge production. We needdesign thinkers - who are natural systemic practitioners -to solve systemicproblems, which is characterised by sustainable development.

A futuresecond paper will draw on the behaviour of non-linear, complex adaptive systemsas self-organising emergence at the edge of chaos and re-interpret the designthinking process in a way which encompasses the intuitive, non-linear andqualitative way in which sustainable development problems need to be addressed.


Author Biography

Rui Helder Dos Santos Martins
MindVision Director
Reflections (Non Peer-Reviewed)