DESIS in the Mirror is online
Call for participation: join the NETWORK FOR VISION -  N4V research project!

  • 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.

Disruptive qualities: "Emerging ideas of times, places, work and relationship. A design challenge.". 5 - 8 June, Cumulus conference, Kalmar, Sweden

A two days session where we will be discussing the “qualities” of the physical and social environments present in projects of social innovation that one can experience as radically different from those spread by mainstream models over the course of the last the century. The two days session on Disruptive qualities aims to define these qualities and to fuel a broader discussion about them as they occur in contemporary society by moving from empirical observations of promising initiatives in the field of social innovation, in order to improve their characterization/definition. By means of a DESIS Philosophy talk and a hands-on workshop, we will be researching on concrete cases of social innovation with the lenses of the disruptive qualities, experimenting how the philosophical reflection can inspire and reinforce the practice of design for social innovation.


NESTA_Call for proposals

In partnership with Glasgow Caledonian University and the TEPSIE project, with support from the Social Innovation Exchange, The Rockefeller Foundation and the University of Oxford, NESTA are looking for research that will push knowledge and practice of social innovation, and set a collective research agenda for the next ten years. This is an open call for proposals that aim to challenge conventional wisdom and identify and address knowledge gaps to deepen our knowledge of social innovation.

Crime and Design Conference Report, Sydney, December 2012

Over 100 delegates - designers, architects, planners, crime prevention professionals, policymakers and others engaging with public space management joined a broad cohort of academics in Sydney NSW in December 12-13 2012 to explore new ways of preventing crime, increasing community safety and making public space work better, as a convivial and collaborative public realm.
This was the first conference we have ever attended where design led approaches and the partners involved in delivering them, truly dominated the account of crime prevention. Given we have been part of the first Design Against Crime Research Centre since it emerged at Central Saint Martins in 1999 and participated in many events on this theme, this fact was very significant, and no accident. The Attorney General of NSW funded the Design Out Crime Research Centre in partnership of the University of Technology, Sydney, to emulate UK design-led crime prevention activities.

Call for paper: Equality, growth & innovation - in theory and practice

The conference discusses the relation between equality, growth and innovation based on experiences from theory and practice. It aims to 1) Systematize exchange of knowledge and experience from completed research studies, policy programs and R & D projects on socially sustainable innovation and growth between actors from different sectors (academic, private, public, nonprofit), and 2) Increase participants' ability and willingness to use knowledge and experience from completed research studies, policy programs and R & D projects to further develop research and policy field of social innovation and sustainable growth.
You are warmly welcome to contribute with an abstract on any of these themes:

Could Design Leadership Be Personal? Forecasting New Forms of ‘‘Indie Capitalism’’

The democratization of design technologies, the increasing personalization of production, and the spread of new distribution models are interconnected phenomena that have produced a new era of rapid change in the creation, materialization, and accessibility of many goods and services. One observes the following features in the production systems of the main advanced economies.


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

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