• Decolonised innovation: Designing needs, dreams, and aspirations under resource constraints

Rasouli, Idrees, 2024, Thesis, Decolonised innovation: Designing needs, dreams, and aspirations under resource constraints PhD thesis, Royal College of Art.

Abstract or Description:

Conventional innovation—traditional processes of inquiry and action for introducing and implementing a new idea—involves substantial psychological and physical resources, a shared cultural mindset, and functional social systems to address urban challenges through critical thinking and creativity. However, designers that lack such resources and systems require the method of innovation to be modified accordingly to meet global differences in needs, dreams, and aspirations.

This practice-based research project examines the activity of innovation with and for resource constraints and explores it through global cultural flows, context-specific circumstances, and cross-border movement of people while considering design as a transformative practice for uncertain states of mind and the unpredictable and fluctuating world where responses are influenced by necessity rather than by choice.

Through critical reflection on the author’s design practice and the initiation of new collaborative design projects, this research project develops and tests the concept of Decolonised Innovation as the seventh generation of innovation (Figure 1.1) through the notions of human-connected design, autonomous design, design in emergencies, and design under resource constraints, and examines the role of transnationalism, specifically borders, as a site of conjunction between identity, imagination, and practice.

Decolonised Innovation, in the context of this research, proposes methods of innovation—systemic procedures of inquiry and action for introducing and implementing a new idea—that liberate the individual from the constraints of a world that is already made. Generated and acknowledged collectively, they allow the designer to work against the assumption that there is only one path to modernisation by designing within the context that the people and the environment afford while approaching the construction and suitability of new ideas through socio-economic adaptation to the constraints of specific cultural contexts.

The author’s practice is situated in the context of transformative design that crosses geographic, cultural, and political borders. Drawing on theories of transnationalism, in particular Cowen’s crosscultural and Friedman’s crossborder exchanges, and theories of cultural and transformative interaction, in particular Appadurai’s suffixscapes and Fry’s sustainment, this research project sets out a framework for experimenting with and analysing the effects of social context and relationships, environment, and cultural differences on innovation in resource-constrained conditions.

Collaboration across different characters is established as a key mode of thinking, with a closer analysis between the local, migrant, and foreigner bringing to light the effects of difference in design outcomes. Kabul, Istanbul, and London are the locations for a series of projects that are investigated through designing research and researching through design methods.

New knowledge is articulated through the way in which the design projects allow for the testing and reflection upon theories while the design methods employed in the projects help demonstrate the concept of decolonised innovation.

The value of this research for individuals and collectives lies in the understanding of the effects that specific contexts and transnational and crosscultural exchanges can have on innovation and the possibilities for designing practically, desirably, and delightfully under resource constraints.

Qualification Name: PhD
Subjects: Creative Arts and Design > W200 Design studies
School or Centre: School of Design
Uncontrolled Keywords: Decolonised Innovation; Human-Connected Design; Resource Constraints; Autonomous Design; Design in/for Emergency
Date Deposited: 01 Jul 2024 15:43
Last Modified: 01 Jul 2024 15:43
URI: https://researchonline.rca.ac.uk/id/eprint/5876
Edit Item (login required) Edit Item (login required)