The research theme to be addressed as part of the PhD is – Design for Social Innovation
The essence of which is captured well by the idea of transformative design, which is meant to express a way of living well, while at the same time consuming fewer resources and generating new patterns of social cohabitation. The term 'transformative design' as set forth by Burns, Cottam, Vanstone and Winhall, and has been associated with work within communities for socially progressive ends, but also work on organisational change.
Here a systems approach is important and is understood as being an inclusive, collaborative process at a communal scale, leading to desirable social change. The research focuses on services (here products / goods are also viewed as services), with an emphasis on collaborative service models and co-creation which necessitates the development of the individuals, organisations and in turn the communities Involved in a relationship of exchange.
The expected outcome of the PhD is a dissertation on ways of design thinking, doing and reflecting, reinterpreting norms on people-centered processes when designing for complex social systems.