Professorial Lecture – Making a Difference: Designing for Happiness

Design is about people; the better able designers are to understand their needs, the easier it is to create appropriate solutions to support them. Using practical participatory approaches, in which people are kept at the heart of the process, it is possible to gain insights into human experience and then design positively to promote human flourishing and enhance wellbeing.

Creative activities can be used as powerful and life-changing opportunities to contribute to dialogues in the design process. Making by hand, gesture and touch can be used as valuable tools to unlock thinking, reframe problems and aid communication. Participatory approaches that combine empathy and creative group activities are being used in a number of CARIAD led international research projects that seek to address the global design challenge of caring for our ageing society. LAUGH, Sensor e-Textiles, Hand i Pockets and HANDS are all projects that focus on design to support the wellbeing of people with dementia.