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  • by Anna Meroni
    Dear all, it’s a great pleasure to announce that DESIS has now become a cultural association, within the meaning of Art. 36 Italian Civil Code. The Art.1 of our new Statute affirms that our purpose “is to promote design for social innovation in higher education institutions with design discipline so as to generate useful design knowledge and to create meaningful social changes in collaboration with other stakeholders. The Association pursues its purpose by supporting the scientific research in the field of the design fostering and maintaining the exchange of scientific information and views among the members and with other institutions, exchange of scientists, promotion of young scientists (doctoral students) and use of existing research infrastructures.

  • by Ezio Manzini
    The notion of design for social innovation is frequently considered similar, if not coincident, with the one of social design. In my view, to do that is an error: the two expressions refer to different activities and have very different implications. The problem begins with the double meaning commonly attributed to the adjective “social”. One of them, that is also the one used in the expression design for social innovation, indicates that we refer to something concerning social forms. That is, concerning the way in which a society is built. The other one, instead, indicates the existence of particularly problematic situations (such as extreme poverty, illness or exclusion, and circumstances after catastrophic events) to which both the market and the state fail in finding solutions. In other words, when used in this way, “social” becomes a synonym for “very problematic condition”, which poses (or should pose) the need for urgent intervention, outside normal market or public service modalities. It is with this meaning that this adjective made its entrance into the design debate several decades ago, generating the expression: social design.

Social Design Methods Menu

by Lucy Kimbell

This PDF is a resource for social innovators and entrepreneurs who want to use approaches based in design and ethnography at the early stage of creating new services, projects and ventures. It contains 11 methods including adaptable templates which use a combination of approaches from design, management and the social sciences, along with an overview of how and when to use them.

DESIS Public & Collaborative days

by Virginia Tassinari

On October 26th and 27th, the International Design Biennale of Liège (Belgium) - entitled "Reciprocity" - hosted the first DESIS Public & Collaborative days. This has been a unique opportunity to reflect upon the past year’s Public & Collaborative cluster project. Within the exciting framework of Reciprocity, for two full days we have discussed how in our projects the "co-produced", "people-powered services" have represented shown their potential for societal innovation, the role therein of policymakers, civil servants and exchanged lessons learnt for the developing of future projects.

Jiangnan University and Jiang Foundation International Workshop: Service Design and Social Innovation, November 2-5, Wuxi, Shanghai, China

In recent years the interest towards Service Design discipline and Social Innovation
issues is gradually spreading in China. However, the exploration of the field is still at this beginning and there is continuous need to exchange and cooperation within national and international networks.
For this reason, this 2012 edition of DESIS Symposium has been organized, to

INDISCRETO - Pamplona COLOMBIA, Oct. 29 - Nov. 2

In the framework of the INDISCRETO academic conference, organized by University of Pamplona, Colombia, and its faculty of Industrial Design, the first meeting to consolidate a common DESIS project will take place. The event, INDISCRETO (Innovation, Design, Creativity) aims at bringing the students closer to the on-going changes of the conception of design and its merging with other branches of knowledge on a multidisciplinary basis.

6th International Barcelona Conference on Higher Education: Let's build transformative knowledge to drive social change

The 6th International Barcelona Conference on Higher Education and the 5th GUNi Report are focused on Knowledge, Engagement & Higher Education. They will analyze how to build transformative knowledge to drive social change. In exploring this contemporary issue, the Report and the Conference will attempt to describe how it is evolving nowadays, and will propose to go beyond the narrow and compartmentalized approach to engagements of higher education by offering new visions and ways for the future.

In the Conference, GUNi aims to approach the challenge of engagements by higher education institutions in the larger society in an integrated manner: it will explore ways in which engagement enhances teaching, learning and research; it will approach engagement in ways that accept the multiple sites and epistemologies of knowledge, as well as the reciprocity and mutuality in learning and education through engagement.


The full series of open lectures are available at DESIS Public & Collaborative initiative website ( 

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