Talented designers developing innovative and affordable products are often not
enough to sustainably reduce poverty in less industrialized economies. In East African
manufacturing firms, for example, efficiencies and levels of quality are negatively
impacted by tribalism, corruption, inadequate inputs and dilapidated infrastructures, among
other factors. Understanding the local conditions, needs and environment are vital to the success
and sustainability of any technology project aimed at promoting development in less industrialized
My research focuses on how appropriate product and engineering design and design thinking can
promote improved standards of living, particularly in less industrialized economies. I believe
in strengthening local technical capacity so that societies can sustainably meet their own needs.
K.M. Donaldson (2008), “Why to Be Wary of ‘Design for Developing Countries’”,
Ambidextrous, issue 9, pp 35-37.
K.M. Donaldson (2006) "Opportunities for and
Constraints of Product Design in Less Industrialized Economies: the Case of Kenya," Research in
Engineering Design , DOI 10.1007/s00163-006-0017-3.
K.M. Donaldson (2002), "Recommendations for Improved Development
by Design", Development by Design (dyd02) Conference, December 1-2, Bangalore, India.
K.M. Donaldson, M.J. Fisher, and S.D. Sheppard (2004)
"Technology-Driven Job Creation in Africa through Micro and Small Enterprises", Chapter in Design
without Borders - from Incorporating Industrial Design into Projects for Development and Humanitarian Aid,
A. Haugeto and S. Knutslien (eds.), Norsk Form, Oslo, Norway.
K.M. Donaldson (2000), Chapter contributor for Kenya:
SME Capital Goods Production: Micro-Irrigation Technologies, IT Publications, The Schumacher
Centre for Technology and Development, Warwickshire, UK.
K.M. Donaldson (2000), "Treadle Pump for Irrigation in
Africa", FAO Water Reports No. 20, IPTRID (International Programme for Technology and Research in
Irrigation and Drainage) collaboration with FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization), Rome, Italy