What Would Darwin Design?

Session Title

What Would Darwin Design?


Stuart Church, Pure Usability Ltd

Session Type: Presentation

150 years after the publication of On the Origin of Species, Darwinian thinking still provides us with an incredibly powerful way to understand and interpret the world we live in. ‘Darwin’s Dangerous Idea’ can be applied to many different areas of science and culture, including the way that we design products and services. An understanding of evolutionary theory (particularly in the fields of evolutionary and behavioural ecology) can provide us with rich new ways to think about and frame questions about design and interaction. For example: What can models of evolutionary cooperation tell us about customer relationships and service design? Is there an optimal amount of innovation? What lessons can evolutionary interactions teach us about design processes? Are there “peacock’s feathers” in interface design?


Stuart Church has 10 years as a user experience consultant, and has been hired to work on projects for clients such as Marks & Spencer, Microsoft, BOC, Lexus, JISC, Process Management International, Bristol University, the Nuclear Decommissioning Agency and Cambridge Assessment. In 2005, Stuart helped to set up the Cambridge Usability Group in the UK before relocating to Bristol, where he now helps to run the Bristol Usability Group. He has taught user-centred design at the University of London and is a visiting staff member at the Institute for Learning and Research Technology, University of Bristol.

Prior to his career in user experience, Stuart was a lecturer and research fellow in Animal Behaviour, Visual Ecology and Biostatistics at the Universities of Bristol and Southampton. He has a degree in Zoology from the University of Oxford and a PhD in Animal Behaviour from the University of Southampton.