DESIS in the Mirror is online
Call for participation: join the NETWORK FOR VISION -  N4V research project!
Distributed & Open Production - Call for Case

  • by Ezio Manzini
    The on-going transition asks for diffuse design capabilities. And therefore for an original knowledge: design knowledge capable to feed the broad co-design processes that will have to drive the needed socio-technical changes. Where and how is this design knowledge produced? Where and how will it be produced in future, given that the demand for it will inevitably grow in the transition towards sustainability? The traditional answer falls on the existence of (and need to develop) public and private research centers. However, in my view, this answer is incomplete, and more importantly it leads us to think that the design research we are talking about can be limited to a few research professionals. In a connected world this is no longer so. In a connected world designing networks also tend to become design research networks: research networks that produce “constructive enquiry” at their nodes.

  • by Anna Meroni, International Coordinator
    Dear DESISers, it seems that the (im)possible mission of turning DESIS into an Association is almost accomplished: the “constitution paper” with the new statute of DESIS signed by the initial founding members is about to be back at home in Politecnico for the formal establishment of the association. This means that soon we can start with the formal applications by the existing Labs and with the requests for application of the new labs that are in the pipeline. But, we do not want to make it just a formal act. We aim to make it an opportunity to update the network about what’s going on in the different labs and to open up new challenges.


Hai un’idea per migliorare la qualità della vita nella tua città?
Hai i sintomi dell’innovatore sociale?
Vieni a scoprire il progetto TRANSITION per far fare un passo avanti alla tua idea!

Designers Telling Stories

Nowadays we are encountering many different ways in which designers are telling the stories of social innovation. This phenomena makes us wonder how we can start a reflection on the philosophical value of storytelling, and see whether this can be somehow helpful in feeding our practice as designer. Amongst the many philosophers who have been working on the idea of storytelling, we let ourselves be inspired by the work of the German philosopher Hannah Arendt. She believes that storytelling is in essence the act to recognise the potentiality that is hiding behind the mainstream, and be able to read this potentiality, to translate it, to tell its story. This act of telling stories is what Hannah Arendt recognises as the real political action that opens up the idea of public space, where everybody is invited to take part in the discussion of which the decisions upon the polis, on the common realm, are taken together. This act of telling stories brings together the act of telling and the one of making, as it used to be in the Greek world poiseis. Storytelling is to Arendt poetry: an action that takes place through words. Through storytelling the potentialities of the past, what was already there and was not manifested yet because not belonging to the mainstream, finally has the chance to become actual, to show its pregnancy.

INSITE Workshop 2014

Dear DESIS community,

we are pleased to announce that our projects Network for Visions and Desis in the Mirror will be presented at the first INSITE workshop of 2014 that will focus on Narratives about Sustainability, Innovation and Local Development issues within the European Union with the aim to foster a concrete and stimulating dialogue with the invited organizations (DIPOs – Distributed Innovation Policy Organizations) on how it could be designed and developed a common strategy for guiding the cascades of changes – induced by innovation projects – towards a more socially and environmentally sustainable future. As an INSITE workshop, the meeting will provide the participants with a common ground: social innovation as defined by prof. David A. Lane.

SIMPACT - Kick Off Meeting

SIMPACT with its 11 partners from nine European countries advances the understanding of social innovation’s economic dimensions, creates new concepts, models and instruments for policy makers, innovators, investors and intermediaries. It systematically investigates how social innovations can enable the most vulnerable in society to become economic assets, integrating critical analysis of current and previous work with future-oriented methodologies, new actionable knowledge and continual stakeholder participation.

Public & Collaborative: Designing Services for Housing

Within the activities of the Public and Collaborative DESIS Cluster, it has been published the 80-page report, created in partnership with the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development


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

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