Sustain by Design

Designers for Future

Human beings don't have a pollution problem; they have a design problem. If humans were to devise products, tools, furniture, homes, factories, and cities more intelligently from the start, they wouldn't even need to think in terms of waste, or contamination, or scarcity. Good design would allow for abundance, endless reuse, and pleasure.«
The Upcycle by authors Michael Braungart and William McDonough, 2013

Sustainability is timeless. Originally with a background in ecology, demand for more sustainability has spilled over into the corporate and cultural sectors in particular and society in general. Once considered very hackneyed, the term sustainability has become respectable again – and the urgency for sustainability is (by and large) undisputed. The time has come to take action and to design our tomorrow. What an incredible task for designers! What may come as a surprise to amateurs has become normal for creators in all disciplines around the world: Good design is a solution!

How can the world of tomorrow be worth living in?
How do we want to work in the future? How do we want to live, communicate? Will the focus still be on whether we want to or will it shift to whether we are able to? To ensure that can do turns into want to, we have to put our heads together and make wiggle room for design!

Who is better suited to make wiggle room for design than designers?!
Designers work at the interface of people and society, the economy and the environment. They use their tools to bring together form and function as well as to develop strategies and systems. They are about much more than making pretty things. Designers create value.

Good design starts at the roots.
Good design considers the roots of a problem, sees it coming, works its way up, is systematic and follows a process: define the goal, challenge, research, analyze, synthesize, brainstorm, draft, prototype, implement, commission, and finetune.

The future needs models, ideas, visions and mindfulness.
Good design drives sustainability. Design shapes the future together with and across many other disciplines, and it involves research and science. How will we live, dress, move, and communicate tomorrow? It is all a matter of design. In six themed areas, MCBW will showcase what design can do, is doing, and will do in this regard.


We have asked experts to share their – in part very personal – view on the six themed areas. You can read their brief essays on the following pages...

Our Topic Areas

Future of Innovation

Abstinence from Abstinence: When rebels pursue an end-to-end approach to innovation – Karel J. Golta

Here’s to innovation and design! Over the past 200 years, they have increased our life expectancy almost threefold, filled our bellies, brought us prosperity, and democratized half the world. No matter which industry you are looking at, techies, researchers, engineers and designers everywhere have brought about progress and improvement and have made our lives easier and more...

Future of Digitization

Agile Perfection: When interdisciplinarity is recognized as a crucial factor for long-term transformation – Roman Gebhard

Since industrialization, ingenuity and resulting technical innovations have spawned strong brands in Europe, and innovation in our part of the world has been characterized by the desire to bring a basic product to technical perfection.

Continuous product development has made it easier for companies and their employees to plan and channel processes. In turn, customers know...

Future of Communication

Lost in Inundation: When communication returns to good conversations – Mara Recklies

Our communication has evolved radically over the past several decades. What types of changes are ahead?

It seems the transformation of people to communicating hybrids is virtually unstoppable. Straightforward communication devices such as virtual reality headsets or smart necklaces will replace smartphones and eventually we will be wearing chips with the latest communication...

Future of Work

From a Company to a Cooperative: When New Work concepts are expanded consistently – Stefan Rauch

Do you like to go to work? Yes? Good for you – me too. Have you ever asked yourself why? We find affirmation in our work. I know this from team sports: In a well-working team, each member contributes his or her skills in a way that an outstanding result can be achieved. In football, I was always proud when my team won and I had done my part. What I want to say is, we thrive on...

Future of Cities

Identification by Co-Creation: When participation turns into sustainability – Ole Schilling

Digitization provides opportunities for urban and rural development

While western cities are becoming increasingly dense due to migration, other regions are thinning out. This results in challenges affecting many areas of society including mobility, healthcare, education, administration, and resource management. Most municipalities see digitization as an opportunity to...

Future of Fashion

The Zipper-Inspired Revolt: When technology and fashion design are dovetailed – Lisa Lang

In 1938, the U.S. edition of VOGUE magazine asked fashion designers, What will Eve wear in the year 2000? Back then, the future of fashion was pondered based on one question alone – What do we want and what do we need? – regardless of technical feasibility. Ideas included apparel that adapts to the body and climate, luminous electronics for new aesthetics, and wireless...