WDO Research and Education Forum

The Research and Education Forum was reinstated as a component of the World Design Assembly in 2019, regrouping more than 70 of World Design Organization’s Education Members from around the world. 

Held as a one-day event, the forum brought together designers, academics, students and design professionals to further enhance the future of design research and education through a series of thematic presentations, discussions, and networking sessions. 

The opportunity to present and exchange advances and trends in design education is of unparalleled value and allows for students and designers from the host city to participate and exchange with their peers from over 40 countries.

The papers presented at the 2019 Research and Education Forum are included in the proceedings document of the event. 

2019 Research and Education Forum Committee



Alpay Er
Professor, Dept. of Industrial Design
Ozyegin University

Thomas Garvey
Associate Professor
Carleton University School of Industrial Design

Martha Zarza
Head of the school of Architecture and Design
Autonomous University of the State of Mexico

Deepak John Mathew
Professor and Head, Department of Design
Indian Institute of Technology Hyderabad


Indian School of Business
Hyderabad, Telangana

Held on 10 October 2019 under the banner of Humanizing Design, the 2019 WDO Research and Education Forum aimed to share perspectives and explore trends to better prepare young design professionals for new challenges and opportunities.

Bringing together academics, students and industry leaders in Hyderabad (India), the event explored three themes relating to the intersection of design education and sustainability, emerging economies and digital media. Through a series of day-long activities, the forum fostered thought provoking dialogue around new education programmes, areas of research and practices that focus on more human-centered approaches to designing for a better world.

Papers & Posters

Theme 1: Integration of United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGS) in International Design Curricula

The UN SDGs were set by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015 for the year 2030, as a blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. During the 30th World Design Assembly held in October 2017, WDO established the World Design Agenda to help achieve the UN SDGs, using design to bring new perspectives to some of the world’s complex problems. Together, with more than 100 delegates from over 40 member organizations from around the world, we have embraced the UN SDGs as a framework for action, but as we move forward we need to continually better define a range of relationships, conditions, and criteria that will help us measure progress and contribute to best practices.


  • Art-integrated learning and community design in rural communities in Kenya (Authors: Young Eun (Sarah) Sin, Linda Kemoli, Yohan Choi, Hyewon Lee)
  • Design + Change in Afrika: An integration of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in a design curriculum (Authors: Ralitsa Diana Debrah, Kennedy Opoku-Asare, Mugendi K M’Rithaa)
  • Feminist pedagogy & design for social cause: Examining the designer’s agency (Author: Shemal Pandya)
  • Grounding SDGs in creative eco-systems: An organic model to integrate design narratives in everyday systemic actions (Author: Simona Maccagnani)
  • Stepping back to look ahead. Questioning the impact of design education in sustainable driven programmes (Authors: Riccardo Balbo, Elda Scaramella, Serena Selva)
  • Towards an ontological expansion of design: Thematic threads to to advance the next design education paradigm (Author: Saurabh Tewari)


Theme 2: Future of Design Education in Emerging Economies

The emergence of university level industrial design programmes outside of Europe and North America can be traced back to the early 1960s in India and Brazil. Since then, modern design education systems are widespread in all parts of the world. More recently, after two decades of intensified globalization, design has been accepted as part of the competitive capabilities of emerging economies. However, issues such as a lack of resources of all kinds, and the rapid expansion of design education programmes, acutely challenge the standards of international design education and the capability of design to meet the relevant local social and economic conditions.

Design research and education institutions in emerging countries are now at a critical junction to understand their own unique characteristics, as they identify new problems, opportunities and responsibilities, definitely in order to define themselves, but also in terms of their ability to redefine the global design education and research agenda.


  • A future scoped, trans-disciplinary design education for the emergent digital India: A constructive character-building paradigm (Author: Manisha Phadke)
  • Design education in India: The role of international collaborations for a globally aspiring mindset (Authors: Gauri Bhatt, Amit Kundal)
  • Design for development 2.0? Revisiting the Ahmedabad Declaration and discourse of design in India (Author: Saurabh Tewari)
  • Future of design education within the changing cultural-economy of India (Author: Rahul Bhattacharya)
  • Objects-based world & learner-centered education: The task of educating object designers of the future in countries with emerging economies (Author: Luis Felipe Moreno Leyva)


Theme 3: Human Approach to Digital Media

The industrial revolution has provided us with powerful tools, which forged the next revolution – the digital revolution. Digital technologies have radically transformed the way we live, learn, work and play. The traditional methods of education have been fundamentally altered by the ease of access and versatility of digital media. However, vouching for the progress of technology without understanding the human element acts as a barrier to learning. Design offers a wide range of tools and ways of thinking that can humanize digital media for education. Some of the challenges being faced by developing countries in the field of education range from easy access to knowledge, clarity in fundamental knowledge, reducing the academia-industry skill gap and learning how to solve real-world challenges through design and innovation. Design acts as an important way of thinking about complexity as the nature of these challenges is interdisciplinary.


  • Information arrangement in augmented reality walking navigation interface based on capacity theory of attention: To facilitate decision making (Authors: Chia-Chieh Lee, Fong-Gong Wu, Chien-Hsu Chen)
  • Photographs: A visual research method tool in design process (Authors: Ankana Sen, Deepak John Mathew)
  • Review of transformative technology and related pedagogy in school: Teaching learning practice to foster creativity (Authors: Sumana Som, Deepak John Mathew, Kim Vincs)



Geetha Narayanan
Srishti Institute of Art Design and Technology

About Geetha

Dr Geetha Narayanan is an academic, a scholar and an institution builder with over four decades of experience in the fields of education and change. Well known as the Founder Director of Srishti Institute of Art Design and Technology Geetha has served on the Board of Icsid (now the World Design Organization; has been a Director’s Fellow at the Media Lab at MIT (USA) and has contributed as a visiting faculty to the Future of Learning Summer Institutes held at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (USA).  Geetha currently holds the UNESCO Chair in Culture Habitat and Sustainable Development at Srishti. She is also Principal Investigator of Project Vision, an international research collective.

Rajiv Kumar
Managing Director
Microsoft India Development Centre

About Rajiv

Rajiv Kumar is the MD of Microsoft India Development Centre (IDC) and CVP of Microsoft’s Experiences and Devices (E+D) India Group. Rajiv’s most recent accomplishment is the incubation and worldwide launch of Kaizala (an enterprise productivity chat app) from India. Rajiv worked for the first 12 years of his career in Redmond (USA) and the latter 15 at IDC, where he was instrumental in transforming IDC from a being a Distributed Center focused on execution excellence to an innovation center that delivers Microsoft products globally. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from IIT Roorkee and a master’s in Computer Science from the University of Texas, Austin.


Carla Cipolla
International Coordinator
DESIS Network

About Carla

Carla Cipolla is associate professor at COPPE – UFRJ – Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil). Since 2004 her research and design activities have been focused on design for social innovation, emphasizing international cooperative projects. She is also international coordinator of the DESIS Network (Design for Social Innovation and Sustainability), a network of Design Labs based in design schools and in other design-oriented universities and operating with local, regional and global partners to promote and support social change towards sustainability in higher education institutions so as to generate useful design knowledge and to create meaningful social changes in collaboration with other stakeholders.

Alok Nandi

About Alok

Design director and innovation strategist at Architempo, Alok B. Nandi brings experiences in multiple media (film production, events, exhibitions, interactive media publishing for Tintin’s publisher) as well as R&D combining tech and storytelling (AR, VR, MR): interaction design, exhibition design (red dot design museum, St-Etienne Design Biennale), strategic design and innovation. He is a regular speaker in international conferences (Amsterdam Interaction14 Chair) and frequent jury member (in design, new media, cinema, start ups). Professor at the Institut Paul Bocuse (Lyon, France), he is working on innovation by design with hospitality/culinary professionals. In 2007, he launched PechaKucha Night in Brussels and got engaged with Interaction Design Association (IxDA). He is global president of IxDA (2018-2020).

Lou Yongqi
Dean of the College of Design and Innovation
Tongji University

About Lou

Prof. Dr. Lou Yongqi is Dean of the College of Design and Innovation at Tongji University, a Vice President of China Industrial Design Association, and the fellow of Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences. Lou has been the pioneer in China for design-driven innovation that connect creativity, business, and technology. He is the founder of Design Harvests, a design-driven urban-rural interaction project; Tongji-Huangpu School of Design and Innovation, the first design thinking K12 school in China; and She Ji — the Journal of Design, Innovation, and Economics. Lou is the Editorial Board Member of the journal Design Issues and the chairman of the international advisory board of University of Applied Arts in Vienna.

Proceedings Document

The papers presented at the 2019 Research and Education Forum are included in the proceedings document of the event. 


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