Design innovation

Deflexor 2033 is a future macrotrends map developed for design application scenarios. It is the result of ongoing academic research conducted by IED Barcelona over the past 10 years and is conceived as a global dynamic compass. The aim of this tool is to help design education institutions use macrotrend insights to guide design driven innovation through design student projects over the next fifteen years.

Deflexor is composed of three mega-trend drivers, twelve macrotrends, six design application scenarios and a constellation of different examples of microtrends. The three drivers, on a global scale, are change factors that have played an important role in change in every period of human history since early civilisation: demographics, technology and globalisation.

We have defined a macrotrend as a large-scale and sustained economical, social, cultural, human, technological or environmental shift in user interests or lifestyles. Deflexor has been designed by six pairs of interconnected global shifts that produce six global design application scenarios:

  1. The acceleration of urban population and consequent growth of new megacities (cities with more than 10 million citizens) associated with a new demand for alternative energies, especially among a younger generation of users, generates a design application scenario called Design for Sustainable Development.

  2. The increase of volatility in traditional businesses that are deeply more connected through trade and movements in capital, people and information (data and communication) associated with a global economic power shift from Europe and the USA to the Far East generates a design application scenario called Design for New Business Models.

  3. Hyperconnectivity is the trend that refers to the use of multiple channels of communication, such as email, instant messaging, mobiles, face-to-face  contact and Web 3.0 information services. This macrotrend is associated with the exponential acceleration in the scope, scale, and economic impact of disruptive technologies and materials. This set of macrotrends generates a design application scenario called Design for Smart Media and Tech.

  4. The standardisation macrotrend is cultural homogenisation as the result of an escalating interaction of people through an increase in the international flow of ideas, lifestyles and culture. It is associated with its antithetical macrotrend: personalisation, the growing human need to receive customised individual communication, services and products. These two macrotrends generate a design application scenario called Design for Cultural Complexity;

  5. The crisis of traditional governance systems is the macrotrend that refers to a decrease in the trust of traditional politics and politicians due to an increase in the number of direct and transparent communication and public management mechanisms based on technocratic platforms. This macrotrend is even associated with the consequences of climate change at a global scale in society because the effects of this macrotrend exacerbate the crisis of traditional public governance models due to environmental and social urgencies. The public debt crisis present in most of the world's countries, and the scarcity of resources also contribute to existing social tensions. All this generates a design application scenario called Design for Social Impact.

  6. The population ageing macrotrend is linked to the increased life expectancy of the world's population thanks to better health and life quality conditions. Population ageing is associated with the demographic boom macrotrend of higher birth rates in specific areas such as Africa and India. This pair of macrotrends generates a design application scenario called Design for Humans.


The Deflexor Map is a dynamic compass that can be also used as a methodology to aid, promote and apply the use of design driven innovation in companies and organisations.

The design education sector should take into account these 12 macrotrends in its future programmes. At the same time, it should be able to contribute to offering solutions to the different scenarios by using innovation and design thinking methodologies, hybrid learning experiences (experiences that combine training with consulting for individuals and companies) and trans-disciplinary interactions.There is more than one way to apply design methodology in these scenarios: design can be applied as a simple aesthetic or functional tool, as a strategy, as a holistic process, as a system re-setter, as a lifestyle transformer or simply as a communication interface.

The Deflexor Map can even be used for startups. A new business venture should represent a commitment to the future that caters to both current and anticipated customer needs and wants. Design and macrotrend driven innovation can be a more effective tool to make the collective intelligence of future user insights more understandable.

The Deflexor Map ultimately presents a constellation of different microtrends divided into technological, environmental, social, market, cultural and human behaviour trends. Microtrends examples can be viewed as an opportunity for progress or an issue to solve by using design education methodologies. These microtrends are only a sample of the complexity of the knowledge production of the world we inhabit.

Firma Alessandro

Alessandro Manetti
Director General IED Barcelona



25 Febrero 2018

la vang

28 Febrero 2018


5 Abril 2018


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