Submit a Manuscript to the Journal

The Design Journal

For a Special Issue on

Dream of 2053 – Futuring Innovative Product Design

Manuscript deadline
01 March 2024

Cover image - The Design Journal

Special Issue Editor(s)

K. Scott Swan, William & Mary
[email protected]

Marina Candi, Reykjavik University and University of Edinburgh Business School
[email protected]

Louise Valentine, Heriot-Watt University
[email protected]

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Dream of 2053 – Futuring Innovative Product Design

Dream of 2053 – Futuring Innovative Product Design

Our goal: facilitate a collective dream on the role of design in innovation and future demands. This is an invitation to imagine scenarios, conduct thought-provoking conversations, spur future-oriented case studies, and deeply explore design within the field of innovation across all approaches - to begin creating a shared vision: “What could product design and product design research be doing in 2053?”

A glimpse at the last 30 years of history can show us what is possible. 2023 marks 30 years since the world wide web was born, 25 years since Google came into being, and 15 years since the Tesla roadster was invented. Apple popularized the use of good design in its iconic products, physical servicescapes, as well as its digital footprint with its App Store launch. Design has probably never been as popular, and much of what we study and love about design is in constant flux.

What is the role of innovative product design? And what role does the environment play? This special issue is dedicated to examining, playing with, turning upside down, and shaking the big picture. We will see what falls out of its pockets.

A central question for this dialogue is: What are the major trends, environmental factors, and uncertainties related to innovative product design? Will AI take over design? How will design address sustainability and global warming? What will be essential collaborations? How will the continued changes to values, biases, communications, and technologies from a pandemic, war, and possible replacement models of Capitalism and Socialism affect design? What new tools will be needed, and what will be jettisoned? What is the influence of supply chain disruptions, reshoring, and other factors introduced into international business models? How is innovative product design research embracing and becoming more inclusive, diverse, and pluriversal in its approaches to innovation? What conditions allow design to support “belonging” and “well-being,” and when does it alienate and cause ill-will?

Currently, the research on design in innovation focuses on practical methods such as design thinking and observation or the analytical approaches found in engineering, market research, ergonomics, and AI. Within society, the value of innovative design is primarily tied to expectations of better products at lower costs that improve well-being and lessen environmental impact.  There is much flux in the theories being applied, and even about whether theory exists for what is, at design’s core, a medicine. There is an exigency to develop a shared mindset for dealing with uncertainty with a robust movement forward, knowing that this next step will produce a new perspective and challenges requiring subsequent observation, orientation, decision-making, and action.

Through this call, The Design Journal aims to raise interest and invite contributions to explore how innovative product design projects and provocations about contemporary economic, social, political, demographic, and technological challenges are activated and measured through design research.

This special issue welcomes, but is not limited to, contributions that:

  1. Provide case studies that exemplify how innovative product design  engages in collaboration and addresses the question of “with who.”
  2. Identify the role and types of theories that will be needed to address future challenges.
  3. Examine how innovative product design can contribute to the complex challenge of climate change and other sustainability issues.
  4. Capture the changing role of product designers in the dramatically changing global landscape.
  5. Demonstrate the effectiveness of metrics for design research in technological transformation and increased interdisciplinary contexts.
  6. Evaluate innovative product design through systems theory. What is the value and impact of innovative product design within the larger design ecosystem?
  7. Imagine how innovative product design might address megatrends such as: (
  1. Acceleration: prosumerism, catalyzation, AI
  2. Reduction: simplicity, instant entrepreneurship, curation
  3. Convergence: multi-sensation, hybridization, co-creation
  4. Divergence: personalization, many-to-many, authenticity
  5. Redirection: tribalism, gamification, experience
  6. Cyclicality: youthfulness, nostalgia, naturality

Submission Instructions

Papers should be submitted electronically by 01 March 2024.

Authors are invited to submit full papers (maximum 7,000 words including all text), provocations with theoretical, practical, or even quantitative proposals for creating scenarios, discussion, and future-oriented case studies to support design evolution responding to the abovementioned theme. All submissions are double-blind peer-reviewed, and a selection of accepted papers will be published in Vol. 26, Issue 5 of the Design Journal in December 2024.

Relevant PhD study reports, reviews of recent publications, or exhibitions on this topic are also invited. Please get in touch with the Editorial Office for further details - [email protected]

Before submitting, authors should consult the referencing, style, and formatting information in the Instructions for Authors.

Instructions for AuthorsSubmit an Article