Pieter Desmet (PhD) is professor of Design for Experience and head of the Human-Centred Design Department at Delft University in The Netherlands. His main research interest is in understanding why and how design evokes emotion and how design can contribute to the wellbeing of individuals and communities. He supervises a research group that studies various aspects of user experience, and he is director of the Delft Institute of Positive Design, a research group that stimulates the development of knowledge that supports designers in their attempts to design for human flourishing.
Pieter is a partner at the Rotterdam-based research and design consultancy Emotion Studio and chairs the International Design & Emotion Society. He has chaired more than ten international academic conferences on the topic of design for experience and wellbeing in, for example, Hong Kong, Bogota, Chicago, and London. He has published over 150 scientific (journal) papers, book chapters, and books on various aspects of experience-driven design, reaching an audience of both scholars and practitioners.
Besides his research, he contributes to local community projects, such as a recently developed sensory wellness neighbourhood park and a cultural Rotterdam-based 'House of Happiness'.
'Design for fundamental needs'
One thing that can be said about design is that its relevance to the individual and to humanity at large — its purpose, meaning, success or failure — depends on the extent to which it satisfies human needs. Products, services, buildings, systems, and other human-made entities are essentially instruments for need satisfaction. In his talk, Pieter will provide a humanistic perspective on design for wellbeing by introducing a typology of fundamental needs and demonstrating how it can inform design innovation.
The typology provides a practical understanding of psychological needs by identifying 13 needs and over 50 related sub-needs. Pieter will show how it can be used as a resource for user-centred design with a focus on happiness and wellbeing. The typology can support communication with clients, within design teams, with end-users and other stakeholders. It can be used to operationalise the wellbeing impact of existing or new designs.
Fundamental needs are universal; every human being has them. In order to flourish, these needs need to be fulfilled. This is the basis of human-centred design. Therefore, it's important to be aware of them to create design innovation.