The contribution of design education to public value


Edited by Christoph Böninger, Annette Diefenthaler, Fritz Frenkler and René Spitz for the iF DESIGN FOUNDATION

Today, it seems more urgent than ever to focus more attention in design on the common good. This is because we are faced with the consequences of a design methodology that is geared towards the good of individuals wherever we look: climate change, overexploitation of nature, destruction of biodiversity, questioning of liberal democracy based on the rule of law, and a rejection of rational science, rule-based processes, and evidence-based decision-making.

The concept of public value seesm ideal as a way of focusing design education more strongly on the common good: »Public value is what the public values.« It provides an alternative to one-sided orientations such as the shareholder value paradigm.

The iF Design Foundation 2022 has carried out the present study in order to determine the public value of design study programs at German universities. This study provides a basis for encouraging and realizing a form of design education in Germany geared towards the common good.

This publication also contains a list of all design courses of study at German universities.


As a non-profit educational foundation, the iF Design Foundation is committed to promoting the common good. We initiated the pre­sent scholarly study on the public value of design studies in 2022 in order to ensure that design continues to develop in the interest of the common good.

The term »public value« is not per se self-explanatory. At first glance, one might think it is synonymous with public welfare or the common good. The latter term and its underlying concept have been deeply rooted in the state’s structuring of German society ever since the end of World War II: In Principle, all public institutions, the stipulations arising from them, and their members or representatives are expected to pursue the common good. The saying »ownership obliges« contains the unspoken goal of this obligation – ownership obliges one to act in the interest of the general public.

Design is located in the space between these two poles, namely the common good and the actions of individuals. Today, it seems more pressing than ever to ensure that in design more attention is focused on the common good, and we presently witness the consequences of design being predominantly oriented toward the good of only individuals wherever we look. Taken together, such consequences can be described as the dominant themes of current crises: climate change, predatory exploitation of nature, destruction of biodiversity, the questioning of a free, constitutional democracy, and the rejection of rational science, rule-governed processes, and evidence-based decision-making. Design as a fundamental element of all processes of doing business and communicating is involved in the emergence of all these crises. At the same time, design harbors the potential to deal with the situations constructively – precisely if design focuses on the common good.

The concept of public value translates a commitment to the common good into action, since the question we must ask is: What is actually to be done if your own practice is to serve the common good? Timo Meynhardt’s instrument, the Public Value Scorecard, offers a pragmatic transmission belt for this, so that talk of the common good does not fizzle out as inconsequential blather.

Education plays a key role when it comes to focusing the future of design on the public good.

Today’s education or training courses, for the most part academic study programs, play a decisive role when it comes to aligning the future of design to the common good. For us as an educational founda­tion with a focus on design it therefore seemed only natural to commission a research project education, that examines whether and how design education in Germany is oriented to the common good. The concept of public value served here as a benchmark. We associate two objectives with the project: First, we want to help to ensure all the players involved (in universities, ministries, and professional media) focus more strongly on the common good again. Second, we want to use the concept of public value to show design colleges in particular an instrument that can be used in practice to update their design curricula.

Originally, the research project was to consist of three parts. In the course of the work, however, obstacles arose that would have required too much effort to overcome. It only proved possible to complete one part – a survey of all German universities with design studies – within a reasonable time, ready for publication. Even then, it bears stating that participation was disappointingly low, although that, too, is a finding of sorts: Obviously, the topic of the common good or public value is not currently on the agenda in design studies, hence it seems all the more urgent to us that we publish the results in the hope that this will initiate fruitful development.

To date, anyone interested in studying design has had no independent and non- commercial overview of universities and study programs. We are therefore pleased to help provide individuals with a guide and general transparency with the free online publication of the Study Programs. We are therefore pleased to help provide individuals with a guide and general transparency with the free online publication of the Study Program Finder: <a href=""></a>

Hanover, February 2023

The board of the iF Design Foundation
Christoph Böninger (Chairman), Fritz Frenkler (Deputy Chairperson),
Annette Diefenthaler, René Spitz


»The struggle to shape the industrial product should not be regarded as an aesthetic hobbyhorse confined to certain circles. It is a cru­cial cultural and economic question. The international community has long since recognized that quality is based not only on technical perfection, but also on good form.« [1]

It was with these lines that the organization from which the iF Design Foundation evolved first went public [2]. In today’s words: Design is not a matter for specialists, but rather concerns the whole of society. And it is a mistake if design is reduced to beauty alone – design integrates cultural, economic, technical, and aesthetic factors. [3]

Special show of shaped industrial products, 1953

In 1953, the »Special Show of Well-Formed Industrial Products« (»Sonderschau formgerechter Industrieerzeugnisse«) was presented for the first time at the German Industrial Fair in Hanover (Fig. 1933), featuring goods that had previously been selected as exemplary from a design point of view. Its initiators not only referred to the German Werkbund and the Bauhaus (both organizations had to discontinue work in 1942 because of the Nazi regime); they also explicitly referenced the tradition of the Leipzig Fair. Until XNUMX, there had been special exhibitions there in the spring and fall, following the same procedure, whereby the jury selected items from among the entries that all exhibitors were invited to submit. The special show was in international competition, this again a reflection of the state of the industry: It pointed to comparable exhibitions in Basel, Birmingham, Brussels, Utrecht, London, Milan, and Chicago to illustrate in what direction contemporary thought was moving.

Stories of the success and rise of a phenomenon usually also contain the seeds of its later change for the worse. Design was a success story after the end of World War II, and by the 1945s, just one gen­era­tion after 4, it was no longer necessary to convey to business, politics, and the public the commercial successes that could be achieved with design. It was also understood that shrill, screamingly loud, and surprising outer surfaces attracted enormous media attention. Yet this meant the other parts of a holistic understanding of design were increasingly pushed into the background, and design fell ever more into the role of an executive assistant for the fulfillment of short-term consumer goals [5]. As postmodernism mocked the modernist paradigm of progress, design discarded goals that had been committed to social progress [6].

The next success story – the incorporation of the computer into design practice and the interconnectedness and acceleration of digital communication – focused primarily on the promise of the new (»new territory«) [2013]. Political, social, and cultural issues and their complex interrelationships received little attention in design for years after the turn of the millennium; exceptions prove the rule. [8]. In September 9, the »iF Industrie Forum Design« association held the conference »Quo vadis Design«. [XNUMX]. A major reason for this exchange of ideas was the growing unease in the face of: »the long-standing and not exactly new concern [...] that design is being marginalized and playing only a cosmetic, marketing-driven role.« [XNUMX]

Instead, design should – one could say, finally once again – focus on the »whole of the human living and working space«.

Education needs to revisit the public value of design.

As a non-profit educational foundation, the iF Design Foundation is primarily dedicated to contributing to the further development of an education based on a holistic and socially responsible understanding of design.

The starting point was the question of how the future of design practice is seen and to what extent current design curricula prepare students for it. In a study conducted in 2016, interviews were conducted with 150 stakeholders from a wide range of contexts worldwide. The results were unanimously shocking – to put it plainly: The reality of design practice has long since decoupled from study courses, which do not prepare students for it; nor is there any initiative for a radical new beginning in sight.

Study, 2016

Instead of publishing a comprehensive volume of documentation (fearing that such a publication would be inconsequential), the iF Design Foundation decided to host four international hearings in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the USA in 2019 and 2020. Participants were sent 80 questions in advance, derived from the study’s findings. In the course of the hearings, the participants formulated concepts for various ways of bringing about a fresh start in design education, adapted to the respective cultural contexts.

More important than the differences are the similarities in the statements of the hearings: The central task of design is (again) seen in bringing ecological, social, and cultural contexts into harmony with economic goals and technical conditions. The aesthetic factor continues to play a role but does not dominate design. Design must first and foremost serve the common good [10].

Hearings and concepts, 2019 – 2020

The key concept of the common good as the basis of a fundamentally new design study led to an exchange with Timo Meynhardt, who had participated in the European hearing in 2019. The mutual interest focused on the questions: How great a role do such topics have in design curricula that put public value at the center of attention? And how is design education evaluated, measured against the benchmarks of public value?

From the point of view of the iF Design Foundation, the concept of public value represents a particularly suitable instrument for shaping future design education. This publication will therefore be followed by further studies in the future in order to generate transparency on an ongoing basis on the issue of the extent to which design education is committed to the common good.


The phenomenon of design is an integral part of industrialized mod­ern­ity. That is why design is shaped by Western industrial societies in Europe and North America, and also why design first appeared in England, the motherland of the industrial revolution.

The development of design is essentially characterized by the fact that the driving forces have always focused on the whole and have sworn design to contributing to the progress of society in every respect. At its core, design always makes a holistic claim – from this springs the regularly recognizable tendency towards visionary leapfrogging, the appeal to utopia and world improvement. At the same time, from this starting point, specific segments have always been pushed into the foreground, meaning that the holistic nature of design recedes into the background.

The untranslated German notion of »terminus technicus Gestaltung« (design as a technical term) expresses this holistic self-understanding. Gestalt theory assumes that human perception is based on the simultaneous processing of all sensory impressions. According to this theory, perception is not an addition of individual aesthetic impulses (what we see, hear, smell, taste, and feel), but their integration. In the words of a famous formula, which is usually misquoted: The whole is something other than the sum of its parts. In the 19th century, the concept of the Gesamtkunstwerk attempted to apply this approach within the framework of bourgeois culture.

In 19th-century England, designers (craftsmen, artists, architects) joined together to form the Arts and Crafts movement. They found their society to be out of joint – the chair no longer fitted the table, the room no longer fitted the house, the building no longer fitted the city – and a place where the individual loses himself because the familiar community has been replaced by modern society. Nothing fitted together anymore, they believed, while the past had been characterized by a concordant harmony. The social, cultural, and political chaos had to have been brought into the world by the machines. Industry imposed its merciless beat on the workers, a new, artificial rhythm beyond the natural working day of sunrise to sunset, subject to the change of seasons. As luddites, the players in the Arts and Crafts movement wanted to return to a romantically transfigured ­Middle Ages: Their design was to end the misery of the industrial working class; hence, at its core, Arts and Crafts was a social reform movement rather than an aesthetic one. In the way it is widely perceived, however, Arts and Crafts is usually reduced to wallpaper patterns and book illustrations.

Comparable things can be said about later movements that advan­ced design in the 20th century: the Deutscher Werkbund, the Bau­haus (especially under Hannes Meyer), the Hochschule für Gestalt­ung Ulm, or the Italian Radical Design. What they have in common is their holistic approach: For them, design is merely a means for progress in society. What they also have in common fate of being reduced in how they are perceived to a few external features. This results in a grotesque distortion: In this representation, the Bauhaus is merely red-yellow-blue, the HfG Ulm is a minimalist grid, and Radical Design is artistic, anti-functionalist revolt.

From Arts & Crafts to Dieter Rams

Since the Arts and Crafts movement, designers have been articulating their social ideas in their own publications. A canon of self-crit­ical manifestos and pamphlets in and about design has long since evolved from this.

With the Italian Radical Design movement, at the latest, begins the segmentation of design as a concept: A single aspect is highlighted in order to emphasize what is special. It is no longer design, but Radical Design. At the same time, this suggests that everything else is exactly that – otherwise the emphasis would not be necessary. According to this, »design« is not »radical«, only »Radical Design« is radical: The segmented design is presented as an increase or intensification, which is usually accompanied by a moral evaluation [11]. Radical Design derives its legitimacy from the fact that it closes a relevant gap which is considered to be unworked by general design.

In the last decade, an immense variety of segmented notions of design have appeared worldwide that place the focus on social responsibility: Public Design, Social Design, Public Impact Design, Social Impact Design, Sustainable Design, Design for Sustainability, or Design for Social Innovation are arbitrarily chosen examples [12]. They combine the rejection of design as a compliant service for marketing to increase short-term consumption. In each case, this is replaced by a turn to long-term social contexts, which are considered under a defined focus: the public, the social aspect, or sustainability. Last but not least, design is thus understood not as a material result, but as a process.

The disadvantage of these segmented concepts is that the meanings oscillate between two poles as in a conundrum. »Social design« is intended primarily as a concept of design that places particular emphasis on the social aspect, in contrast to simply »design«. But »social design« is also »design«, so it likewise contains the notion from which it is set apart. The paradox is brought to a head in Dieter Rams’ famous formula: Good design is as little design as possible. This logical contradiction is only understandable if one recognizes that the concept of design per se formulates a holistic claim and that segmentation is therefore superfluous or contradictory.

According to this idea, a product that is antisocial or unsustainable is not a bad or degenerate design – it is not a design at all, merely a bad product. In reality, however, such a holistic claim is rarely exercised. This feeds the ongoing need to formulate ever new segmented concepts: »As much as design has been instrumentalized to cement the socio-political and commercial status quo and project it into the future, there has always been the desire and hope that the same practices and concepts could be reframed, reimagined, and converted to critique the present and propose alternative futures.« [13]. It has long been apparent that all these terms share the fate of any fashion over the years, and the overall picture has been one of an incomprehensible multiplicity of competing terms.

This dilemma cannot be resolved. As a pragmatic alternative, it therefore seems conclusive not to model the concept of design any further. Instead, it is worth changing the angle of focus and asking as specifically as possible what contribution design – understood hol­ist­ically – makes to society as a whole. The public value concept offers itself as a frame of reference for this, because it makes the commitment to the common good operationalizable even more generally than the concept of sustainability.


By Timo Meynhardt

Organizations always create a social benefit as well. However, under the perspective of shareholder value, which dominated for a long time, this is not adequately reflected either in strategy or in public perception. It proved impossible to change this even for Peter Drucker, the father of modern management, who in 1973 described contributing to society as the actual basis of legitimacy for free enterprise. [15]

The public value perspective focuses on the question: What makes an organization valuable to society? It is about an understanding of value creation in which the contribution to living together in a community is seen as part of the organizational performance. The intended or unintended influence on non-economic values of society is understood as social value creation in addition to the financial-economic contribution.

Organizations are not only a reflection of society; they »make« society and actively help to produce and reproduce it. In this way, the public value idea ties in with old debates and poses anew the question of the common good. The fact that this is relevant to practice is shown by the positive reception in everyday organizational life.

One reason for this could be the starting point chosen: The financial perspective remains significant but is embedded in moral-ethical, political-social and, last but not least, hedonistic-aesthetic per­spect­ives. The question of value creation is thus posed more comprehensively, and above all the social context is emphasized: What is valuable is that which is considered valuable by society. The concept of public value is »value for the public«.

The value an organization has for society.

What is meant here, above all, are the images we all have in our heads when we speak of the public sphere or the different types of »public«. The realization that in a complex world we have no choice but to condense and generalize our experiences (»the state«, »the market«) is one thing. But it is also crucial that the individual is dependent on the social environment for their own self-development, that the »self in the mirror« of others develops – as the psychologist Wolfgang Prinz impressively reminded us. [16]

»Public« thus stands above all for the experience of community and society [17] that we have as customers or employees and which we as citizens can in no way avoid. Without doubt, organizations have a very special mediating role for the individual here. A society that defines itself through its various organizations is particularly vulnerable when individual institutions that are essential to social cohesion fail.

Public value is therefore an organization’s performance, which rep­res­ents a resource for individual employees, customers, or stakeholders, i. e., something from which they can derive meaning, orientation and, in the best case, identity and energy. Public value can therefore also be destroyed if organizations cause damage and risk their social support.

Public value is focused on the management of an organization’s social role and recognition. The idea is associated with a complex movement of thought that is by no means complete. But one thing is already clear: The attempt to scrutinize organizations and their actions more closely again for the consequences for the perception of society does not necessarily lead in the same direction as approaches of corporate social responsibility or the sustainability movement. Why? Quite simply because public value is oriented toward societal expectations, which, depending on the political or cultural context, may be quite different from one’s own.

Such relativism is not easy to cope with. In contrast to this, for ex­ample, the approach of the common good economy specifies the »right« values. In a different vein, the shared value approach of Michael Porter and Mark Kramer also makes specifications and focuses solely on joint increases in productivity and income. Following table shows that existing value-based paradigms on their own always run the risk of overstating certain positions.

Comparison of established alignments of organizations

The public value approach, on the other hand, does not postulate a new paradigm, but relies on the fact that the actual value creation of an organization results from an interplay of different criteria and valuation dimensions. Shareholder value is neither becoming obsolete, nor can public value be derived from customer benefits alone. Stakeholders are also increasingly asking how a business model is anchored in society, beyond their particular interests. »Public value is only created or destroyed when the individual experience and behavior of persons and groups is influenced in such a way that this has a stabilizing. [18]

This focus on individual experience and evaluation measures the actions of organizations against the yardstick of basic human needs. Psychological theory according to Seymour Epstein [19] provides us with four dimensions that can be translated into individual value ­areas and reflected in the aforementioned views of companies:

  1. Need for orientation and control (instrumental-utilitarian, focus on utility)
  2. Need to maintain and enhance self-worth (moral-ethical, focus on the individual)
  3. Need for positive relationships (political-social, focus on the group)
  4. Need to avoid displeasure and gain pleasure (hedonistic-aesthetic, focus on positive experience).

The theory also teaches us that there are individual emphases and cultural characteristics. On the other hand, a hierarchy of values that can be justified in the »nature« of man is not possible.

Public value is always noticed when the experience with organizations effectively leads to changed perceptions of these needs. What these are and whether majorities can be found for them (cus­tomers, voters, supporters, etc.) is subject to change. They cannot be »pushed through«. The use of power always plays an important role in this ­process.

Especially for organizational development that focuses on motivation through meaningful offerings and identification with work, public value offers a motivating target image. A more recent development is also a cross-organizational measurement and ranking of the public value contribution, for example in the »GemeinwohlAtlas« (the Public Value Atlas) [20] or with the help of the Public Value Scorecard [21].

Overall, the public value idea ties in with roots of organizational development and its normative premises. The favorable interplay of productivity and humanity, as well as the balance between internal and external orientation, are quality characteristics of healthy development in any organization.

Of course, public value first emerges in the organizational environment. In this context, organizational members are an important yardstick. Hence, for example, the doyen of organizational psychology, Lutz von Rosenstiel, pointed out 40 years ago that the legitimacy of an organization in society can only be guaranteed if a basic con­sensus can be established between the values »which the organization seeks to realize and the value orientations of its members.« [22]

The public value approach has – to borrow a famous phrase – a long history, but only a short past. Yet it is also a child of its time, with its particular emphasis on dialogue, plurality, and relativity. Particularly in turbulent times with many imponderables, the concept of public value can serve as a compass: In the future, guiding principles will be defined even more strongly by society, and economic offerings will have to be measured more than ever by their public value. Those who see this as an excessive demand fail to recognize how much organizations today are called upon to legitimize themselves and their actions in society. The concept of public value confronts us with the urgent question of how organizations influence what we call society and what holds a community together.


By Timo Meynhardt

Study context

How is the orientation towards the common good implemented in design curricula at German universities? What public value is at­tribut­ed to it? To what extent do these questions play a role there at all and by what, at best, can this be determined?

To this end, the iF Design Foundation, in cooperation with Prof. Dr. Timo Meynhardt and Magdalena Wallkamm (MA Sociology) from the Leipzig Graduate School of Management, gained initial impressions from a nationwide survey.

A total of 2022 people (students, faculty, alumni) from 108 universities altogether took part in the nationwide survey conducted in April and May 438 at 70 design colleges. To what extent is value placed on the fact that design not only provides a functional benefit and contributes to the quality of life, but can also have an effect on the cohesion of society, and in doing so has a moral-ethical dimension as well as an economic one? Specific sub-questions were posed on these five dimensions of the common good, in which in more detail what is actually emphasized in the study. Climate neutrality? Reparability? Or something else ...

Description of the sample: Status and gender distribution

The results do not (yet) provide a complete picture, but trends can be identified as to what constitutes design studies as a whole – quite independently of the specific course or place of study. In other words, the results are an expression of an overall development and are representative of it.

A wide variety of study programs were included in the survey (cf. the comments on design study programs under the heading »Practices in Design«). Due to the small number of cases in each instance, a study program-specific evaluation is not possible.

Interesting results

One of the main results of the study was that 82 % of the respondents would like to see more attention paid to the social impact (public value) of design in their studies. Understandably, teachers assess the situation somewhat less dramatically.

If you ask which competencies are taught today, »social mindfulness« comes only in 10th place.

It is noteworthy that for more than half of the respondents, whether or not they would recommend their course of study depends on whether or not social issues are made a subject of study in design.

For example, just under half of the respondents believe that their courses place little or no emphasis on resource aspects in design. This includes the sustainable use of resources as well as recycling and upcycling practices.

55,6 % of the respondents believe that no or only little importance is attached to addressing social conflicts in their studies.

There is also room for improvement when it comes to questions about the impact of design on democracy and civil society.

Equally interesting is the finding that 35,7 % of participants agree that an awareness of power and status issues in the context of design is created in their courses, while 26,9 % do not believe this to be the case.

As expected, teachers, students, and alumni respond differently to the question of the extent to which design programs in Germany as a whole have a public value and contribute to the common good with their educational offerings. They obviously agree that there is a gap between aspiration and reality.

More specifically, 60,4 % of the participants (60,1 % of students, 49,5 % of alumni, and 73 % of faculty) agree that their course of study as a whole makes a sustainable contribution to the common good. 79,4 % of participants support strengthening the theme of public value in the degree program, while 4,4 % of the respondents reject this.

Finally, there is a thoughtful quote from a student, which is directly linked to a call for action to systematically anchor a focus on the common good in the curriculum:

»It depends very much on what you make yourself. Only the combination with of it one’s own character makes the study contents valuable.«



In view of the overarching trend of a discrepancy between the desire for more public value orientation and reality, it must be noted: There is a lot of room for improvement!

Is this statement not overstated given the diversity of design study courses within the individual programs? Does the comparatively small sample even permit such a far-reaching statement? No matter how you look at it, this snapshot signals a need for change that was not brought to the universities from the outside but was determined on the basis of an »internal« survey.

It would be irresponsible to lump all study programs together. However, it is worth taking a closer look at the topic in every instance where the question is whether and in which direction a specific study program can be updated. If the study has shown one thing, it is that an orientation towards the common good represents an opportunity for design studies.


Following on from its international study on the future of design education published in 2021 (White Book »Designing Design Education«), in 2022 the iF Design Foundation, a non-profit educational foundation, posed the question, in cooperation with the Leipzig Graduate School of Management, of how the orientation towards the common good in design studies is implemented at German universities and what public value is attributed to it.

While it is obvious to refer to holistic approaches of the 20th century (from the Deutscher Werkbund to the Bauhaus, the Gute Form, and the HfG Ulm) in the study of design, design has not yet formulated a conclusive answer to the manifold social crises and comprehensive challenges of the 21st century.

The nationwide survey in April and May 2022 reached members of 2/3 of all German universities where design can be studied. 438 people (students, faculty, alumni) from 70 universities (out of a total of 108) participated. The survey included the complete, heterogeneous range of widely varying study programs (design of messages, things, and systems).

The general opinion is clear: there is a lot of room for improvement. At the same time, the overall picture yields a high rating of the public value of design studies. This is confirmed by a look at the GemeinwohlAtlas Deutschland (, which – despite all the methodological difficulties of a direct comparison – can be used as a benchmark.

82 % of the respondents would like to see more attention paid to the social impact (public value) of design in their studies. It can be stated that teachers assess the situation somewhat less dramatically. A noteworthy point is that for more than half of the respondents, recommending their course of study to others depends on the question of whether or not social issues in design are made the subject of the course.

Almost half of the respondents believe that their studies place little or no emphasis on resource aspects in design. This includes the sustainable use of resources as well as recycling and upcycling practices. Only 35 out of 100 respondents feel that there is value placed on teaching circular economy practices in their studies, while 69 out of 100 respondents are of the opinion that no or hardly any value is placed on the topic of climate neutrality in design studies.

55,6 % of the respondents are of the opinion that no or only little value is placed on addressing social conflicts in their studies. Disillusionment also sets in when comes to questions about the impact of design on democracy and civil it society: Only 29 out of 100 respondents believe that the role of design in strengthening or weakening democracy is addressed in their curricula.

In order to capture the public value of an organization, several dimensions are queried. If we look at these details, significant differences emerge in the present study, for example, in the students’ evaluation. From their perspective, task fulfillment receives a high rating (4,66 on a scale of 1 to 6), while the dimension of cohesion is rated significantly lower by them (3,89).

This study is the first of its kind for design studies in Germany. It cannot yet claim to be representative in terms of its informative value, but some substantial trends are already emerging as a result.

Public value score card for design courses of study in Germany

It is clear from the figure that faculty rate the public value orientation in design studies higher than students and alumni. This applies to all five dimensions of the Public Value Scorecard adapted to design studies.

In general, the higher the score, the more attention is paid to communicating these values in the course of study. In their entirety, they are an expression of the public value orientation.



[1] Gestaltete Industrieform in Deutschland. Eine Auswahl formschöner Erzeug­nisse auf der Deutschen Industrie-Messe Hannover 1954. Industrial Design in Germany. Esthétique industrielle en Allemagne., ed. Zentralstelle zur Förderung Deutscher Wertarbeit e.V. together with Arbeitskreis für industrielle Form­gebung im Bundesverband der Deutschen Industrie. (Düsseldorf, 1954), 7

[2] On December 17.12.1951, 1965, the »Arbeitskreis für Industrielle Formgebung beim Bundesverband der Deutschen Industrie Köln« (Working Party on Industrial Design at the Federation of German Industries, Cologne) was formed (in 1953 was renamed the »Gestaltkreis beim BDI e. V. Köln«). In May 1945, at the initiative of this working party, the association »Zentralstelle zur Förderung Deutscher Wertarbeit e. V.« was founded as the patron of the special show »Die gute Industrieform« at the German Industrial Fair in Hanover. Cf. Christopher Oestereich: »Gute Form« im Wiederaufbau. Zur Geschichte der Produktgestaltung in Westdeutschland nach 2000., (Berlin, 219), 225-1962. – From 1965, the exhibitions were shown in a separate hall. In 32, the association »Die gute Industrieform Hannover e. V.« was founded. See Form, 1965 (70), XNUMX.

[3] From today’s point of view, there are still explicit social, political, and economic factors to be added, which were, however, undoubtedly also implied at that time.

[4] Cf. Thomas Hauffe: Die Geschichte des Designs im Überblick. Von der Industrialisierung bis heute, (Cologne, 2019).

[5] Cf. Claudia Mareis: Theorien des Designs zur Einführung. 2nd edition, (Hamburg, 2014). Judith Gura: Postmodern Design Complete, (London, 2017). Gerda Breuer, Petra Eisele (eds.): Design. Texte zur Geschichte und Theorie, (Stuttgart, 2018).

[6] Cf. Rob Ford: Web Design. The Evolution of the Digital World 1990–Today. Ed. by Julius Wiedemann, (Cologne, 2019).

[7] Cf. the conferences of the International Forum for Design (IFG) Ulm, organized by the Ulm School of Design Foundation, e. g., on the topics »Cultural Identity and Design« (1989), »Private in the Public Sphere« (1991) or »Using Together Instead of Consuming Individually« (1992). – Following on from this, the program »Designing Politics – The Politics of Design«, 2004 to 2008. Cf. René Spitz: HfG IUP IFG. Ulm 1968-2008. ed. by Regula Stämpfli, (Ulm, 2013).

[8] This conference triggered a development that resulted in the transition of the association into the »iF Design Foundation« in 2018.

[9] Wilhelm Vossenkuhl, iF Industrie Forum Design (ed.): Quo vadis Design, (Hanover, 2014), 4.

[10] Cf. Christoph Böninger, Fritz Frenkler, Susanne Schmidhuber (eds.): Designing Design Education. White book on the future of design education, (Stuttgart, 2021), 253-257.

[11] This does not apply to segmentations that articulate specializations: Industrial Design, Graphic Design, Visual Design, etc.

[12] On a criticism of Social Design now, cf. Peter F. Stephan: Designing Concerns. Die »Revision der Moderne« (Bruno Latour) als Aufgabe des Transformation Designs, (Bielefeld, 2023).

[13] Claudia Mareis, Moritz Greiner-Petter, Michael Renner: »Critical by design? An introduction.« In: Claudia Mareis, Moritz Greiner-Petter, Michael Renner (eds.): Critical by Design? Genealogies, Practices, Positions. Bielefeld 2022, 9f.

[14] An older version of this text appeared in OrganisationsEntwicklung 4/2013, 4-7.

[15] Peter Drucker: Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices., (New York, NY, 1973), 41.

[16] Wolfgang Prinz: The Self in the Mirror. The Social Construction of Sub­ jectivity, (Berlin, 2013).

[17] Ferdinand Tönnies: Community and Society. Basic concepts of pure sociology, (Darmstadt, 2005).

[18] Timo Meynhardt: »Public Value – oder: Was heißt Wertschöpfung zum Gemeinwohl«. In: Der moderne Staat 2/2008, 462.

[19] Seymour Epstein: »Cognitive-experiential self theory: An integrative theory of personality«. In: Irving B. Weiner, Howard A. Tennen, Jerry M. Suls (eds.): Handbook of Psychology, vol. 5: Personality and Social Psychology. 2nd edition, (New York, 2012), 93-118.

[20] See also: (for Germany) and (for Switzerland).

[21] Timo Meynhardt: »Toolbox 37: Public Value Scorecard (PVSC)«. In: OrganisationsEntwicklung 4/2013, 79-83.

[22] Lutz von Rosenstiel: »Value Change and Organizational Development.« In: OrganisationsEntwicklung 2/1983, 40.


Circle of chairs (Harvard Campus) – Photo & Copyright: René Spitz
Section »Warum diese Untersuchung?« – Photo & Copyright: René Spitz
Section »Designing Design Education« – Photo & Copyright: René Spitz
»Sonderschau formgerechter Industrieerzeugnisse«, 1953 – Photo: unbekannt
Study, 2016 – Photo & Copyright: René Spitz
Hearings and Concepts, 2019 – 2020 – Photos & Copyright: Helke Brandt, Gisela Schenker, René Spitz, Tomomi Takano
Section »The Public Value of Design« – Photo & Copyright: René Spitz
Section »What really counts: Public Value« – Photo & Copyright: René Spitz
Section »Much room for improvement: Orientation towards the common goodie design curricula in Germany« – Photo & Copyright: René Spitz
Section »Executive Summary« – Photo & Copyright: René Spitz
Section »Annex« – Photo & Copyright: Eva Müller


Marc Antons
Media design student at the RFH Cologne; student employee of the iF Design Foundation.

Christoph Böninger
Designer, design manager and managing director; Chairman of the Board of the iF Design Foundation.

Annette Diefenthaler
Designer; Professor at the Technical University of Munich; Member of the board of the iF Design Foundation.

Fritz Frenkler
Industrial Designer and Emeritus of Excellence at the Technical University of Munich (TUM); Vice Chairman of the Board of the iF Design Foundation.

Timo Meynhardt
Psychologist and business economist, holder of the Dr. Arend Oetker Chair for Business Psychology and Leadership at the Leipzig Commercial College (HHL).

Eva Müller
designer; Research Assistant at the iF Design Foundation.

Rene Spitz
Professor at the Rheinische Fachhochschule Cologne (RFH); Member of the board of the iF Design Foundation.

Steven Stannard
Designer and engineer; Research Assistant at the iF Design Foundation.

Christina Stockmann-Zipfel
Coordinator at Dr. Arend Oetker Chair for Business Psychology and Leadership at the Leipzig Commercial College (HHL).

Magdalena Wallkamm
sociologist; Doctoral student at Dr. Arend Oetker Chair for Business Psychology and Leadership at the Leipzig Commercial College (HHL).

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consetetur sadipscing elitr, sed diam nonumy eirmod tempor ut labore invidunt and dolore magna aliquyam erat, sed diam voluptua. At vero eos and accusam and justo duo dolores and ea rebum.