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Kees Dorst worked as a product designer for various design firms before pursuing his career in research. With one foot in practice and the other in theory, he challenges the role designers play in today’s complex world and examines how design practices can be adapted to achieve innovation in different fields.

He is Professor of Design Innovation at the University of Technology Sydney’s Faculty of Transdisciplinary Innovation, and the founding director of the Design Innovation Research Centre and the NSW Designing Out Crime research centre. Over the course of his academic career he has co-founded four new University departments/schools and faculties. 

A prolific writer, he has published many articles and several books – including ‘Understanding Design’ and ‘Design Expertise’, with Bryan Lawson. His most recent books are  'Frame Innovation - create new thinking by design' where Kees provides a practical new approach to design-led innovation, ‘Designing for the Common Good’,  examining real-life projects that span many sectors of society, and ‘Notes on Design’, a practice-oriented book on how designers can innovate in their own fields.

He is currently also a member of the Advisory Group for the UN Development Program, overseeing the creation of platforms around the world to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Event role
Keynote speaker & masterclass leader


'Innovation: the design way'

We live in interesting times. Technological advancements that were the stuff of science fiction have now come true, and access to all the people and knowledge in the world is in our pockets. But when we networked ourselves we inadvertently also networked our problems, too: we have made them more open, complex, dynamic and networked than ever before.

To innovate in such a complex world, we need to move away from conventional problem solving and established ways to achieve innovation. Now design practitioners have always dealt with ill-structured and ‘wicked’ problems, and they have developed practices, methods and tools to deal with them. These design practices have now become newly relevant to many professional fields and organisational contexts. In this talk, Kees Dorst will explain how the design practices of framing and reframing are now being picked up and applied way beyond the scope traditional design domains.


'The art of frame creation'

When organisations apply old methods of problem-solving to new kinds of problems, they may accomplish only short-term solutions, temporary fixes and superficial service solutions. Today's problems are a new breed - open, complex, dynamic and networked - and require a radically different response.

How do designers manage to approach problem situations in new ways, time and time again? We need to start with the acknowledgement that a problem has its roots in a specific context. To create a new frame that context needs to be critically looked at, and changed... more >

Friday, September 11, 11:15 - 11:45 (keynote)
Friday, September 11, 14:00 - 16:30 (MC)
Saturday, September 12, 10:00 - 12:30 (MC)

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