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Special Issue "Post-Industrial Design toward Sustainability Development Goals: Techno-Socio-Economic Development Models for Global Society in the Era of Digital Transformation"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 25 December 2022 | Viewed by 1348

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Fabrizio D’Ascenzo
E-Mail Website1 Website2
Guest Editor
Faculty of Economics, Sapienza University of Rome, 00161 Rome, Italy
Interests: technology innovation; business information systems; management of innovation; sustainability; digital transformation
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Francesco Bellini
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Management, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome 00161, Italy
Interests: innovation and technology management; digital transformation; socio-economic evaluation of innovation; sustainability
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Alina Mihaela Dima
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Business Administration Department, Bucharest University of Economic Studies, Bucharest 010961, Romania
Interests: sustainable education models; international business; innovative business models; new learning and research models
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Marina Utevskaia
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Finance, Saint-Petersburg State University of Economics, Saint-Petersburg 191023, Russia
Interests: management of innovation; fintech; financial instruments; strategic management; sustainability; innovative production and business models

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Sustainability seeks original manuscripts for a Special Issue on “Post-Industrial Design toward Sustainability Development Goals: Techno-Socio-Economic Development Models for Global Society in the Era of Digital Transformation”, scheduled for publication in 2021 and with a submission deadline of November 30, 2021.

According to Bell (1974), the Post-Industrial Society is dominated by the service sectors and professional and technical occupations. It is marked by the centrality of human relationships and “intellectual technology”, based on information and information and communications technology (ICT), which “rises alongside of machine technology”. The Fourth Industrial Revolution is building on top of digital technologies being characterized as “a fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres” (Schwab, 2016). The first attempt to explain complexity of post-industrial economy came from Buchanan (2001), that introduced the “four orders of design” model where design is about “the human power of conceiving, planning, and making products that serve human beings in the accomplishment of their individual and collective purposes”. While the “product” is the formal outcome of the design process, it typically connotes a physical object; it is understood as the outcome of an industrial design process. Buchanan argues that this limited meaning is being increasingly challenged as four orders of design have emerged. The first and second orders emerged in the first half of the twentieth century: while graphic design deals with the nature, shape, and meaning of symbols and consists of four distinct but related activities: typography, illustration, photography, and print, industrial design is concerned with tangible, physical artifacts and, therefore, with things. The third and fourth orders focus on designing experiences rather than physical objects. While starting out as a response to the need to design IT systems for and with the users, it has, over time, been paying increasingly specific attention to user experience. Finally, environmental design is concerned with “the idea or thought that organizes a system or environment” and, therefore, in the fourth order, the focus is on human systems, the integration of information, physical artifacts, and the interactions of living, working, playing, and learning in environments.

Accordingly, we welcome papers aimed at analyzing and exploring how digital technologies are shaping the paradigms of production and business models, taking into account the needs of consumers as well of the social and environmental ecosystems. Contribution can focus either on technological, social, or economic issues while always considering them from the different perspectives of Sustainability Development Goals.

Topics can include (but are not limited to):

  • smart cities and smart territories
  • immersive technologies for design and production
  • artificial intelligence for smart design
  • technology ventures and innovative production and business models
  • artificial intelligence and co-creation
  • digital factories
  • big data and production processes
  • technology enhanced learning
  • sustainable fintech and insurtech
  • socio-economic impact assessment models of technological innovation
  • implementation strategies and roadmaps

Authors are invited to submit original work to this Special Issue of Sustainability, but may also choose to submit to the 18th conference of the Italian Chapter of AIS (Association for Information Systems – that will take place at University of Trento, Department of Economics and Management, on October 15–16, 2021, given that it has not been previously published nor is under consideration for publication by other journals. Initial submissions should follow the guidelines outlined for the ItAIS conference. Selected conference authors will be invited to submit a full paper version to Sustainability.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact the Guest Editors.


Aleshkovski, I., Bondarenko, V., & Ilyin, I. (2020). Global values, digital transformation and development strategy for global society: Conceptual framework. International Journal of Foresight and Innovation Policy.

Bell, D. (1974) The Coming of Post-Industrial Society: A Venture in Social Forecasting, London: Heinemann Buchanan, R. (2001). Design Research and the New Learning. Design Issues, 17(Number 4)

Fällman, D,. (2008). The Interaction Design Research Triangle of Design Practice, Design Studies, and Design Exploration. Design Issues 24, 4-18.

García Ferrari, T. (2017). Design and the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Dangers and opportunities for a mutating discipline. The Design Journal, 20(sup1), S2625–S2633.

García Ferrari—2017—Design and the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Dange.pdf. (s.d.). Recuperato 9 gennaio

Ivanova, I., Smorodinskaya, N., & Leydesdorff, L. (2020). On measuring complexity in a post-industrial economy: The ecosystem’s approach. Quality & Quantity, 54(1), 197–212.

Nylén, D., Holmström, J., & Lyytinen, K. (2014). Oscillating Between Four Orders of Design: The Case of Digital Magazines. Design Issues, 30(3), 53–68.

Nylén et al. - 2014—Oscillating Between Four Orders of Design The Cas.pdf. (s.d.). Recuperato 10 gennaio 2021, da

Prof. Dr. Fabrizio D’Ascenzo
Dr. Francesco Bellini
Prof. Alina Mihaela Dima
Dr. Marina Utevskaia
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • Sustainability Development Goals
  • resilient ecosystems
  • blue economy
  • green economy
  • digital transformation
  • production
  • co-creation
  • inclusion
  • design

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Designing Smart Energy Systems in an Industry 4.0 Paradigm towards Sustainable Environment
Sustainability 2022, 14(6), 3315; - 11 Mar 2022
Viewed by 817
Among the Sustainable Development Goals, ‘Green Issues’ have attracted significant research on sustainability transitions and regional diversification. The introduction of green environmental technologies within the frame of the Fourth Industrial Revolution is crucial for the diversification of local, sustainable activities to protect the [...] Read more.
Among the Sustainable Development Goals, ‘Green Issues’ have attracted significant research on sustainability transitions and regional diversification. The introduction of green environmental technologies within the frame of the Fourth Industrial Revolution is crucial for the diversification of local, sustainable activities to protect the environment against negative climate changes. The present paper provides evidence of the positive correlation among green activities if, and only if, green culture and capabilities are robust and exist. Close international coordination is needed. We point out that smart energy-designed systems are a real revolution in the post-industrial society dominated by the service sectors. Therefore, promoting ‘intelligent’ meters is a robust policy action in world energy-based economies. We investigate the policy effects for smart meter rollout in European countries by testing this green policy tool on different economic literature strands. A theoretical model is introduced, showing that a sustainable and efficient policy instrument will reinforce and develop local green culture. The spatial unit of investigation is the EU-28, and it verifies the effectiveness of smart meters as a valid post-industrial design tool toward more sustainable environmental policies. Full article
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