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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1942/25309

Title: Design for Health, Wellbeing and Happiness Manifesto: who, what, why and how
Authors: Petermans, Ann
Cain, Rebecca
Desmet, Pieter
Issue Date: 2017
Citation: World Design Summit, Montreal, Canada, 16-20/10/2017
Abstract: SIGWELL is the recently re-launched Design Research Society’s Special Interest Group focused on Design for Health, Wellbeing and Happiness. The SIGWELL community has an interest in advancing knowledge, and the development and application of design research in the broadest sense to improve the personal and societal wellbeing, happiness and health of people. The remit of SIGWELL is wide-ranging; including the design of experiences, interactions, technologies, products, environments, services and systems for wellbeing, happiness and health; developing understanding of how design impacts upon wellbeing, happiness and health (and other emotional states); and the development of new tools, methods and approaches for designing for wellbeing, happiness and health. In this contribution, we elaborate about the ‘SIGWELL Manifesto’ wherein its mission statements and focal points are discussed. To be able to do so, firstly the rationale for the re-launch of SIGWELL is discussed. We examine changes in demography, evolutions in health care and changing economic, societal and political circumstances which all have contributed for the Western world to be moving from an economic/materialistic society focused on material wealth, to a more holistic and experiential society, where more value is now placed on personal experiences. There has been a realisation that we have arrived in a post-materialistic culture where experience and meaningful engagement which contributes to our wellbeing is seen as the ultimate goal, rather than ownership of more material possessions. This change of focus from material to more personal and experiential opens up opportunities for design – where it is not only the design of physical products, technologies or environments themselves which can bring happiness, rather happiness is achieved from the experiences (past, in the moment, or anticipated) that people can have from their interactions with these. In light of this societal context, design for wellbeing, happiness and health goes beyond designing to improve just health or wellbeing (e.g., through medical products or healthcare environments), but it is to be embraced as a broader concept where design can enable positive experiences, which contribute to happiness, wellbeing, and therefore, ultimately, improve physical and mental health. Secondly, SIGWELL’s multidisciplinary approach is discussed. This is key, as design for wellbeing, health and happiness is a multidisciplinary issue which requires a community to come together. SIGWELL therefore positions itself as a community whereby those with expertise in design, psychology, engineering, architecture, human factors, technology development, HCI, healthcare and others disciplines can come together to nourish the interdisciplinarity of the domain. The SIGWELL community has as its foundation an ethos of collaboration, international community building, sharing and working together towards a common goal – that is to enable the power of design to have a positive impact on the wellbeing, happiness and health of people across all societies – in the developed, and crucially in the developing world. After sketching the rationale and multidisciplinary approach, the ‘SIGWELL Manifesto’ is explained in detail so as to encourage the international SIGWELL community to step up and join our efforts.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1942/25309
Category: C2
Type: Conference Material
Appears in Collections: Research publications

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