Measuring Social Values of Design in the Commercial Sector

social values of design

The benefits of “design” towards the achievement of social objectives is an ever bigger topic of debate. Anecdotal evidence suggests that “design” can indeed lead to social values, but it is a tricky matter to measure such benefits. Fortunately, a recent project lead by HCDI researchers provides a contribution to knowledge and understanding in this area for the case of SMEs.

The project consisted of two main phases. Phase 1 attempted to understand the contextual issues surrounding social value, Corporate Social Responsibility and social design. Phase 2 investigated current measurement tools in business, social and design contexts, so as to create an agenda for developing a future tool for measuring the social value of design.

Major findings include the categorisation of social value in terms of Individual Ethics, Company Ethics, Community Ethos and Responsibility for the Natural Environment.

Major findings also include the conclusion that positive acceptance and value can be achieved by any framework which identifies the current CSR activities, provides a holistic view of a company’s activities, is used as the basis to intensify CSR or diversify social initiatives, and which can be easily and effectively applied.