By Ezio Manzini
DESIS has grown over the past few years. Now it is time to focus (its aims) and consolidate (its organization). These topics have been discussed on several occasions, including the DESIS Forums in Shanghai, September 2010, and Paris, May 2011.
This long discussion has resulted in a redefinition of its motivations and organization: DESIS exists to promote and support sustainable social changes. To do that effectively, it has been organized as a network of autonomous and interconnected DESIS Labs (that is, design labs based in design schools and design-oriented universities). Given its system architecture, the new DESIS is uniquely able to operate as a distributed design agency and to promote an open design program: a broad program where a variety of projects converge, tackling complex problems and generating scenarios and solutions.
The DESIS Forum in Paris, 21 May 2011, was an important step in this direction. In fact, giving visibility to a large number of DESIS-oriented projects, it offered the design community and other potential partners an overview on what schools of design are currently doing in this field,. It therefore gave design labs working in similar ways on similar themes the possibility to connect, start a conversation and converge towards shared results (such as: common visions and collaboratively developed solutions).
In the next few months many things will happen. First of all, several DESIS Labs will be set up in schools that are already active in the DESIS community. Secondly, other DESIS Forums will be organized and a larger group of DESIS-oriented projects will be presented and collected (utilizing the DESIS Forum Format that was defined and tested in Paris). Finally, the DESIS website, which has been up-dated and up-graded, will be enriched with contents. Adopting an open and peer-to-peer approach these contents will be generated and up-loaded by the whole DESIS community.
DESIS (2011), Vision, aims and organization, DESIS Presentation, May 2011
Ezio Manzini (2011), Design schools as agent of (sustainable) change. A Design Lab Network for an Open Design Program, paper presented at the “Researching Design Education”. International Symposium for Design Education Researchers, Paris 18 May 2011.