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.
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.
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.
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 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.