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.

Social innovation and storytelling: DESIS philosophy talk #1

Emerging practices of design for social innovation are showing the relevance to make more extensive use of videos and narratives. Storytelling as such is becoming increasingly important for a variety of reasons. But what does storytelling mean? How can we make best use of it within the context of design for social innovation? Can storytelling be seen as that which facilitates the possibility for a public space to be opened up, where the commons can be re-destributed and where both dialogue and action can be shared and eventually lead to the construction of a higher quality public domain? Can it lead to the establishment of the pre-conditions for participation, condivision and dialogue to take place and lead to the co-design of a more participative society?
How can this eventually happen? How can we exclude a manipulative character in the way we make use of storytelling?

Design for social innovation and new economics

Workshop for Cumulus Dublin

Kakee Scott, Lara Penin, Nadia Elrokhsy of Parsons DESIS Lab



After a process done with all the members in the last months, the brand new profile of our network will be presented at Cumulus Dublin on 6th November 9.00am-1.00pm room DH1 at NCAD (see Cumulus Working Group 1- DESIS in the Cumulus Dublin in the program - LINK).
DESIS is moving to a no-profit international association with a statute that is a result of a several feedback sessions done with all of you. The result of this discussion and the decisions already taken will be presented during the meeting and, moving from here, we will discuss their implications.
Looking forward to seeing all of you!

5th China Conference on CSA and Organic Farming New Three Dimensional Rural Issues - Big Design

The Fifth National Exchange Forum on Community Supported Agriculture will focus on “Cross Discipline, Multiply and Innovation” in facing the new task of CSA and the new context of the society. Three Dimensional Rural Issues (agricultural land, farmers, agro-industry) will be explored in depth from the perspective of technology, culture, creative design, platform building, and new source of financing etc. The new ‘Three Dimensional Rural Issues” perspective coupled with Big Design is going to bring vitality to traditional agriculture. This is the thematic challenge od the conference that will be host by Tongji University from November 1st to 3rd. The conference is an important and large appointment for the Chinese communities and the pioneer in the reflection and practice of Sustanability inspired ways to agriculture, and its social implication. The conference is composed of keynote speeches, parallel forums, in-depth forums, open forum, summit forum and theme visits. This year, a particular interest is given to the multidisciplinary approach to agriculture, and within the conference there are two panels mainly design (and DESIS) oriented.

DESIS Seminar 2013 “New Challenge, New Quality, New Action”

In the framework of Tongji Design Week initiatives the College of Design&Innovation announces the 2013 edition DESIS Seminar, as specific discussion forum on the thematic cluster Rural-Urban China, and a joint event with the CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) Conference (link), hosted in November 2013 at Tongji University.


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

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