Dr. İdil Gaziulusoy is a design researcher and a sustainability scientist with close to two decades of research, teaching and practice experience in design for sustainability. She has worked in Turkey, New Zealand, Australia and Finland in academic and practice contexts undertaking research, education and consulting roles. Currently she is Assistant Professor of Sustainable Design at Aalto University, Finland, contributing into research and practice of the emerging design for sustainability transitions field with a specific focus on strategy development for businesses and cities to help them set and achieve systemic innovation goals in the face of sustainability and climate urgency.

Her first book, co-authored with a researcher from Brunell University, UK, Design for Sustainability: A Multi-level Innovation Framework from Products to Socio-technical Systems is due to be published by Routledge in 2020.




In this masterclass you will be introduced to the approaches covered by the multi-level framework of design for sustainability. The multi-level framework structures innovation levels in design for sustainability practice across five levels: material/component, product, product-service system, spatio-social and socio-technical.

You will learn about the different design approaches and associated tools that were developed across these five innovation levels over the evolution of the design for sustainability field including pros and cons of each approach and potential synergies between approaches. These approaches include green design, eco-design, emotionally durable design, design for sustainable behavior, cradle-to-cradle design, biomimicry design, product-service system design for sustainability, design for the base of the pyramid, design for social innovation, systemic design and design for sustainability transitions.

The framework conceptualises the emerging research and practice of design for sustainability transitions as an umbrella approach crosscutting all innovation levels. The masterclass will equip you with an understanding of each approach covered by the multi-level framework and enable you to develop design for sustainability strategies tailored for the specific needs you may have from project to project.

This masterclass is based on the upcoming book Design for Sustainability: A Multi-level Framework from Products to Socio-technical Systems (Routledge). The session at SDNOW will be the first ever delivery of this training program in comprehensive detail.


The masterclass will be useful for a broad audience including design practitioners and innovation managers: those who’d like to start practicing design for sustainability, those expanding their existing practice on design for sustainability and those who are providing business-to-business and business-to-government consultancy.


We are living in times of “sustainability urgency” and there is a need for radical changes in socio-technical-ecological systems. These changes are referred to as sustainability transformations or sustainability transitions. Although these large scale and systemic transition projects has been on the agenda of policy makers and academia for more than two decades, only recently, sustainability transitions has become a popular topic in design practice.

Despite this emerging popularity, currently it is difficult for design researchers, design agencies and freelance designers to fill the niche for design research and practice and to bring forth the full potential of design in transition projects. There are several reasons for this including the need for competence and capacity development (internal) as well as the underlying structures of the commercial environment design practice takes place in (external).

In my talk I will discuss what roles design can play in the context of sustainability transitions in the short and longer terms and share my perspective on the interventions that are necessary to enable design research and practice to become a default and core contributor in sustainability transitions projects based on my experience, observations and learnings from projects I took part in as a design researcher, educator and practitioner.

We acknowledge the Woiwurrung and Boonwurrung people of the Kulin nation as the traditional owners of the lands on which the conference is being held, as well as traditional owners of lands on which we work across the region. We recognise that sovereignty over these lands and waters has never been ceded, and pay our respects to Elders past, present and future.

RMIT University RMIT Master of Design Futures Paper Giant Huddle Meld Studios Service Design Melbourne Making Space Melbourne Speculative Futures
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