The conference was held on June 2014, as a platform to share research, views, initiatives and personal experiences, to listen to others’ thoughts and to learn from each other. Both academic researchers and practitioners from the field were invited to present their papers & practical work.
This conference was an outcome of a joint research project of Delft University of Technology (TUD, http://www.tudelft.nl) and the Indian Institute of Science (IISc, http://www.iisc.ernet.in/), initiated in 2009. The project, titled Technology and Human Development – A Capability Approach, was funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO, http://www.nwo.nl/). The conference covers the original topic of this research project, but also goes beyond the project to explore related issues and challenges.Detailed information about different activities is available at:
Delft University of Technology
3TU.Centre for Ethics and Technology
NWO Research
Organised by:
Logo TU Delft
Logo IIS
Supported by:
Logo NWO


Aims of the conference

The conference aimed to provide a platform for:

  1. Presenting new (a) perspectives/view/ideas,(b) methods, frameworks and methodologies, and (c) cases for Design for Sustainable Well-being & Empowerment
  2. Exploring the pathways for extending research in this area, and extending benefits of such research
  3. Stimulating discussion and interaction between researchers, stakeholders and the underprivileged


Well-being is an anthropocentric premise central to human development, while sustainable applies to the living-environment’s all-pervasive ability to support well-being. Empowerment is fundamental to modern society’s judicious endeavor to equip every individual with the right to well-being, without discrimination. Design, both social and engineering, is a discernible intellectual trait, involving human ingenuity and innovation, with an immense potential for alleviating impoverishment in income, livelihood and empowerment. Social design applies to structure, functionality and beauty underlying society, while engineering design applies to structure, functionality and beauty underlying artefacts (technology and products) created for well-being.


Design for sustainable well-being is a challenge. Firstly, due to the operational divide between the social sciences and engineering, further exasperated by the North-South lifestyle and development divide. While the underlying commonality in design is feasible to establish, their operational disconnect hinders both sustainability and well-being. Secondly, due to the diversity in the notions of well-being across cultures, genre and geography. Thirdly, due to inequitable distribution of the benefits attributed to development, further aggravated by severe scarcity in and opportunities for livelihood.


Problems linked with well-being of the impoverished BoP [Base-of-the-Pyramid] are far more pronounced, diverse and debilitating. The failure of products/services in providing sustainable livelihoods can be attributed to the disconnect between social and engineering design, amongst other factors including environmental disruption, disoriented market and entrepreneurial mechanisms, and misaligned institutional support network. Available resources are scarce, inequitably accessed and the constraints attributed to human construct and designs are exhaustive. The consequence of failed product may have a more pronounced enervating impact on the beneficiaries than failed products in the non-BoP markets. This raises issues of ethics and proactive responsibility for all stakeholders involved, including beneficiaries, designers (both social and engineering), manufacturers and service providers, entrepreneurs and markets involved. Designing products to positively support well-being for the underprivileged and improvised enunciates the need for rigorous academic-research and reflection, evaluative and prescriptive appreciation of success and failures through multi-stakeholder interaction, collaboration and coordination. The aim of the current conference is to facilitate this opportunity.


Distributed over several sessions, the conference was divided into two major events, the first event facilitated multi-stakeholder academic- research interactions, while the second event was a maiden attempt to facilitate an outreach session wherein the impoverished and underprivileged could voice their concerns/challenges to the consortia of academia, industries, entrepreneurs and businesses. The network between the beneficiaries and the consortia was facilitated through NGO’s and SHO’s [Self Help Organisations]. Direct interactions between all the stakeholders led to identification and prioritisation of the challenges of the impoverished and underprivileged, characteristic to various geographies, cultures and economics, requiring creativity and innovation through design of new products, effective stakeholder-coordination, market and entrepreneurial mechanisms.


Day 1 & 2 [12 and 13th June] focused on academic research interaction; Day 3 [14th June] was a platform both for practitioners and academia. Both academia and practitioners were welcome on all days. All the selected papers are part of the conference proceedings.

Programme Topics of interest

Papers and presentations that address the following topics in relation to design for well-being and empowerment are invited:

  1. Perceptions of well-being and empowerment: their influence on design
  2. Using normative approaches in design for well-being (Capability Approach and Design)
  3. Sustainability and well-being: challenges and opportunities for design
  4. Individual versus collective well-being and empowerment –conflict resolution through design
  5. Equity, ethics and profit – can they exist together?
  6. Role of ethics in design
  7. Pedagogical design tools – Normative approaches in design for generation-next
  8. Novel design methodologies/frameworks/methods/ pedagogy for well-being and empowerment
  9. Adaption and evaluation of design methodologies/ frameworks/ methods for well-being and empowerment
  10. Design & innovation for sustainability – a systemic perspective
  11. Successful design & innovation: role of stakeholders
  12. Extending design: inclusive Social Sciences, Markets, Engineering and Entrepreneurship
  13. Grass-root innovations and sustainability: Lessons learnt
  14. Invention to successful innovation: role of design


The topics of interest have been organized into the following 8 Sessions:


Session 1

Design for Well-being: Human capabilities & other conceptions of well-being – Do designer need to have a normative approach towards well-being and development?  And how this can possibly affect the design process?


Session 2

Design for Sustainability -

  1. How to weigh sustainability against other values, like well-being?
  2. Defining sustainability in the view of product and design


Session 3

Inclusive Empowerment and social mechanisms: Role of Design -

  1. Design as a tool to build inclusive Empowerment
  2. Understanding of different social mechanisms for achieving inclusive            empowerment through design
  3. Innovativeness as culture and its effects on empowerment


Session 4

Equity and Ethics in the Pyramid: Role of Design -

  1. Equity and Ethics as meta-requirements for design
  2. Effects of equity and ethics on design thinking
  3. Social responsibility: is it design’s ‘duty’ or an ‘additional’ responsibility?


Session 5

Advancements/changing perspectives in design methodology and methods for well-being


Session 6

Design: A systemic, multi-stakeholder perspective -

  1. Covering the whole life cycle of product in Design process
  2. Identifying and modelling different stakeholders in the design process
  3. Systems perspective to design – advantages/disadvantages


Session 7

Well-being and Sustainability: Design responsive to market mechanisms -

  1. Whose sustainability is it anyway?
  2. Can Market ensure the well-being and sustainability on its own?


Session 8

Grassroots innovations and Entrepreneurial success/failure: Design case studies -

  1. Bridging the gap between invention and innovation for the Base of the Pyramid/Emerging Markets
  2. Anybody can design?
  3. Characterizing the Grassroots innovations.

Activities and Schedule

The ‘Call for Papers’ is closed and the review process is completed.

Schedule of activities

Download the overview here.

The schedule of the activities is the following:

1) Keynote speakers
2) Paper sessions
3) Poster sessions
4) Design competition (for more information click here)
5) Stakeholder brainstorm
The program booklet including the above activities can be downloaded here.

Keynote speakers

Prof. Anil Gupta is a professor in the Centre for Management in Agriculture at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, India. His keynote is about: “Designing Sanctuary of Inclusive and Extremely Affordable Empathetic Innovations

Prof. Anil Gupta

Prof. Anil Gupta

Dr. Devi Shetty is a cardiac surgeon. He has leveraged economies of scale to provide affordable healthcare. He founded Narayana Hrudayalaya, a multi-specialty hospital at Bangalore. His keynote is about: “Healthcare challenges of disadvantaged or marginalized populations at the Base-of-the-Pyramid

Dr. Devi Shetty

Dr. Devi Shetty

Prof. Andy Dong works at the Warren Centre Chair for Engineering Innovation, Faculty of Engineering and Information Technologies, University of Sydney, Australia. His keynote is about: “The Capability to Design – What is It and Why It Is the Foundation of Well-Being


Prof. Andy Dong

Prof. Ille Gebeshuber is a Professor of Physics from Austria. Her keynote is about: “Bridging theory to practice: Biomimetic nanoscience and nanotechnology to design for society

Prof. Ille Gebeshuber

Prof. Ille Gebeshuber

Dr. R. Balasubramaniam is a development activist, social innovator, medical doctor by training, with specialization in public health and public administration from Harvard University.  His keynote is about: Technology Enabled Healthcare – An Experiment in Using Technology to Enable Community Engagement in Govt. Primary Health Centres.

Dr. R. Balasubramaniam

Prof. L.S. Ganesh is Professor and Dean (Students) at the department of Management Studies of the Indian Institute of Technology in Madras, Chennai. His keynote is about: Design for Sustainable Wellbeing & Empowerment: A Justification Framework.

Prof. L.S. Ganesh

Prof. L.S. Ganesh

Prof. Rishikesha Krishnan is Director and Professor of Strategic Management at the Indian Institute of Management Indore, India. His keynote is about: Making Frugal Innovation Work.

Prof. Rishikesha Krishnan

Prof. Rishikesha Krishnan

Download all info

For all information together, download:


The conference proceeding book can be found here:

Conference Proceedings



Arcot Ramachandran info

Advisory Committee

R. Balasubramaniam info / L.S. Ganesh info / llle C. Gebeshuber info / B. Gurumoorthy info /Jeroen van den Hoven info / S.S. Lokras, IISc / Anitha Kurup info / V.N. Patkar info / Pasquale Policastro info / B.N. Raghunandan info /N.H. Ravindranath info / Koshy Varghese info / B.V. Venkatarama Reddy info /

Conference Chair

P.V. Kandachar (Prabhu), TU Delft info

Conference Convener

Monto Mani, IISc info

Organization / Program Committee

B. Gurumoorthy info / Prabhu Kandachar info / Vikram Parmar info / Monto Mani info / Ilse Oosterlaken info / B.V. Venkatarama Reddy info / Amaresh Chakrabarti info / S. Seshan info / Mary Mathews info / Satish Vasu Kailash info / Anjula Gurtoo info / Praveen C. Ramamurthy info / H.I. Somashekar info /

Scientific / Review Committee

Sivakumar Babu, IISc / P. Balachandra, IISc / R. Balasubramaniam, Swami Vivekananda Youth Movement / Eric Blanco, University of Grenoble / Han Brezet, TU Delft / Amaresh Chakrabarti, IISc / Marcel Crul, TU Delft / S. Dasappa, IISc / Anindya Deb, IISc / Jan-Carel Diehl, TU Delft / J.E. Diwakar, IISc / Alex A. Frediani, University College London / L.S. Ganesh, IITM / llle C. Gebeshuber, National University of Malaysia / Ashitava Ghosal, IISc / Anirban Ghosh, Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd. / Anjula Gurtoo, IISc / B. Gurumoorthy, IISc / Minna Halme, Aalto University Business School / Jeroen van den Hoven, TU Delft / Satish Vasu Kailash, IISc / Prabhu Kandachar, TU Delft / Thomas McKeag, California College of the Arts / Anitha Kurup, NIAS / S.S. Lokras, IISc / Ade Mabogunje, Stanford University / Monto Mani, IISc / Rina Maiti, IISc / Mary Mathews, IISc / Jayant M. Modak, IISc / K.S. Nanjunda Rao, IISc / Ilse Oosterlaken, TU Delft / Vikram Parmar, Ahmedabad University & TU Delft / V.N. Patkar, Mumbai / Pasquale Policastro, University of Szczecin / T.V. Ramachandra, IISc / Praveen C. Ramamurthy, IISc / Sudhakar M. Rao, IISc / N.H. Ravindranath, IISc / Venkatarama Reddy B.V., IISc / Henri Simula, Aalto University Industrial Economy / Lalaine Siruno, TU Delft / H.I. Somashekar, IISc / Marc Steen, TNO / H.S. Sudhira, Gubbi Labs / Rosangela Tenorio, University of Nottingham / Pascale Trompette, University of Grenoble / Koen Vandenbempt, University of Antwerp / Koshy Varghese, IITM/ Philip Vergragt, Tellus Institute / Rafael Ziegler, University of Greifswald

Student Organization Committee

Core student organizer: Pramod Khadilkar., IISc
Other committee members: Annemarie Mink, TU Delft / Balani N.C., IISc / Gayathri Aaditya, IISc / Kumari M.C., IISc / Praseeda K.I., IISc / Ramani K., IISc / Suman D., IISc / Tarun Kumar, IISc


The upwards progressing logo comprises three people, holding hands high together,  synergistically forming the Sun’s rays ~ radiating unity, empowerment and joy (well-being). The trio also are representative of designers/academia, people/culture and entrepreneurs/industry and also the three well-known pillars of sustainability: planet, people and profit. The nurturing feminine silhouette conveys co‑existence and sustainability. The color adopted denotes optimism and opportunity.

Logo designers: Mr. Nikhil Meshram (Center for Product Design and Manufacturing, IISc, Bangalore) / Mr. Render Sangma (Center for Product Design and Manufacturing, IISc, Bangalore)

Event Photographs

For photographs of the conference events:

Click here.



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Venue and travel

For information on the venue and how to get there, please download this document.


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