Experience by Design

Frans Melissen and Sustainable Experience Design

Episode Summary

To recognize Earth Day 2022, Professor Frans Melissen visits the Experience by Design studios to discuss his perspectives on designing sustainable experiences, avoiding the "lock in," and systemic changes needed to reverse climatic catastrophe. While it might seem futile at times, Frans encourages ways large and small to start moving ourselves in a different direction in order to do better than "good enough."

Episode Notes

While we are celebrating Earth Day on April 22nd, it might feel more appropriate to be planning the Earth’s memorial service. Earth Day was founded in 1970 as a way to learn about environmental issues, highlight sustainability of natural resources, and direct our attention to the fragility of our world. In the intervening 52 years, things haven’t gotten much better. 

Attempts to change our energy production, usage, and pollution have run into the wall of politics, conspiracy theories, and denial. It seems that when we need action the most, it is hardest to come by. Despite people increasingly coming to terms with the reality of climate change, adequate action is still not being taken, leading to worries about it being too late.

To help us explore some of these questions, Professor Frans Melissen visits the Experience by Design studios. Frans has spent a career examining not only the impact of people and society on the environment, but also the larger question of sustainable experiences. We talk about the nature of how systems based on profit cannot necessarily act in ways that are environmentally responsible. He tells us about his idea of being a ‘scholactivist’, or combining scholarship with activism. By finding ways to communicate more broadly through new mediums like TikTok, scholars can have a greater impact.