Interrogating the value of design research for change

Paul A. Rodgers, Francesco Mazzarella, Loura Conerney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
35 Downloads (Pure)


This paper examines different types of value created by design research in the UK. Given the significant economic, social and environmental challenges we currently face, funding bodies and governments are increasingly concerned with assessing the value and impact of design research. The value generated by design research is not always clearly articulated by the academic community and understood by the public. With this in mind, this paper examines a sample of 67 projects that traverse conceptual, disciplinary and methodological boundaries representing the spread of contemporary design research in the UK. The paper presents an innovative 4-leaf value model that integrates different value theories from economics, sustainable development, and the social sciences. The paper highlights that design research plays a significant role in generating social, cultural, economic and environmental change, outlines synergies between the different types of value produced, and identifies gaps for design researchers to focus on in future years.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)491-514
Number of pages24
JournalDesign Journal
Issue number4
Early online date13 May 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 13 May 2020


  • design value
  • design research
  • change
  • Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)


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