In my post earlier last week I made the case for regenerative design as a response to the range of systemic ecological, social and climatic challenges that we are facing. As soon as we start talking about regenerative design, a myriad of questions pop up. 

After six months of co-facilitating the first Constructivist Regenerative Design Lab, I can see these questions settling into three categories. Sorting these questions into groups hopefully gives us a way through them. They are as follows:

  • What do we mean by regenerative design?
  • How do we do it?
  • How do we create the conditions for it to happen?

I find this separation brings clarity. The first question sets the terms for the answer to the next two. Regenerative design requires a conceptual leap – a paradigm shift in how we see our role as designers. It requires us to think very differently about how design works. It is likely to feel very inconvenient, not to mention counter-cultural, which is why it is important we separate the question of what we are trying to achieve from the ‘how’. I have seen that when we start the conversation with ‘how’, then the concept gets watered down.

When we can be clear about our aims – and I think the literature is clear, although the concepts are not widely enough understood for them to be mainstream yet – we can start to think about how we do it.

The answers to questions two and three are likely to be iterative and related. Gaining the opportunity to do regenerative design will inform practice; practice will enable more chances to make the case for regenerative design.

More blog posts about regenerative design

My work on regenerative design is generously supported by the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851. Read more about my Fellowship in Regenerative Design.