Designing a healthy future at DI2011

David Kester, Deborah Szebeko and Luke Pearson apply design thinking in the public realm for the wellbeing of society.

With few exceptions, national healthcare systems the world over are in disarray. In various instances resulting from a lack of funding, inefficient management, neglect or the absence of a comprehensive vision and strategy, the entire concept of public healthcare is calling for a makeover.

Understanding that good health and wellbeing is the cornerstone of a productive, economically active society that enjoys social and political harmony, it is becoming increasingly apparent that a healthier society can and needs to be designed.

Design Indaba 2011 presents three creatives who are tackling some of the debilitating challenges of modern-day healthcare. Applying design thinking in a variety of innovative ways Deborah Szebeko, David Kester and Luke Pearson, all from the UK, are working to improve the condition of aspects of public healthcare.

Szebeko founded thinkpublic in 2003, an organisation that combines design and social entrepreneurship, to inspire and engage citizens and frontline staff to take an active role in designing solutions to the many social challenges they face. The thinkpublic team consists of designers, filmmakers, programmers, marketers, artists, anthropologists and a positive psychologist working in the core areas of health, social care, civil society, government, education and employment.

As the chief executive of the UK-based Design Council, Kester leads national programmes and policies for industry, education and the public sector, which drive innovation and strengthen competitiveness. Currently focussed on mentoring high-tech ventures to use design to accelerate new innovations and sustainable services, Kester’s approach aims to turn social challenges into economic opportunity. His recent Design Bugs Out programme resulted in innovative healthcare products, better health outcomes, savings and exports from enterprise, and better approaches to government procurement.

Working at the intersection of socio-economic trends and technologies to define new patterns of behaviour, Pearson is co-founder of PearsonLloyd, and believes that design and creativity give us the tools to mould our future. PearsonLloyd’s work is directed at producing compelling and intelligent solutions that are also appropriate and timeless in what is, to them, “the still embryonic craft of industrial design”. Their most prolific public realm projects include designing and developing elements of the Public Realm and Movement Strategy for Bath City Centre and the Design for Patient Dignity Initiative that comprises a selection of products that ensure privacy for patient transfer and mobility.

Deborah Szebeko, David Kester and Luke Pearson will be speaking at the 2011 Design Indaba Conference from 23 to 25 February.

Watch the Talk with Deborah Szebeko