Design for SOCIAL INNOVATION (BOTTOM UP: it comes from people and the…
Design for SOCIAL INNOVATION
"[...] a constellation of design initiatives geared toward making social innovation more probable, effective, long-lasting and apt to spread." (E. Manzini)
2 reasons to focus on it today:
S.I. initiatives are multiplying and will become even more common in the future due to the challenges of the economic crisis and the need to transition on sustainability.
As society changes, S.I. changes, resulting in new and unthinkable possibilities.
BOTTOM UP: it comes from people and the community involved in the problem.
NYC Community Gardens: a group of volunteers gardeners that mantain public gardeners with the support of Green Thumb, a program that provides material and financial support.
1973: Green Guerrillas planted many seed bombs to cultivate vacant lots.
Today, many community gardens are mantained all around the city by volunteers that work in them and even open them to the public.
Farmers' Assotiation in China: in 2005 a group of citizen founded a farmer association in order to help poor farmers and to bring fresh and organic food to the city.
By selling traditional sourced food, the association educates the citizen, introduces a sustainable lifestyle and helps the farmers in the countryside.
In every of these cases, people cooperate in inventing, enhancing and managing viable solutions for new and sustainable ways of living.
These questions are as day-to-day as radical. The dominant production is unable to give answers to basic questions. The creativity was able to re-combine existing assets in order to achieve new goals and solutions.
DESIGN-LED PROCESSES: professional designers can design in two ways:
... WITH communities: they have to promote collaboration among diverse social actors, participate in the construction of shared visions and scenarios, combine existing products.
... FOR communities: they have to conceptualize and develop solution for specific collaborative services and other artifacts.
TOP-DOWN: it comes from experts, decision makers, political activists.
Franco Basaglia: a psychiatrist who founded the DEMOCRATIC PSYCHIATRY movement in 1970.
He opened the psychiatric hospital in Trieste, believing that people with mental disability had the right to use their capabilities.
1978: LEGGE BASAGLIA > all the psychiatric hospital opened up.
Basaglia proposed a general discourse on DEMOCRACY and CIVILIZATION.
Carlo Petrini: he founded the SLOW FOOD movement in 1989 believing that everyone has the right to pleasure food and so everyone has the duty to preserve its heritage, its tradition, it's culture.
SLOW FOOD supported the supply and the valorization of food products that would gradually disappear, and it has networked with farmers, breeders and fishermen connecting them to their market.
CONVIVIA and PRESIDIA
Petrini created a radical new vision of what an ADVANCED and SUSTAINABLE food system could be like.
B. and P. recognized a real problem and the resources that were able to solve it; proposed structures that were able to activate the resources; builded a connection between different local activities and oriented them coherently.
It can be INCREMENTAL: it lies within the range of existing ways of thinking and doing.
It can be RADICAL: it goes outside the range.
HYBRID: a more complex interaction between very diverse initiative, where the ones undertaken are supported by institutions, companies, civic organizations.
FEEDING MILANO: a strategic design project led by Politecnico di Milano, University of Gastronomic Science and Slow Food.
The project aim at fostering the relationship between the city (which needs fresh food) and the Agricultural Park South Milan (the productive countryside) through the de-mediation of the agri-food chain.
Using service prototypes, F.M. has started a set of new design initiatives such as "Earth Market of Milan", "Veggies for the city", "Local Bread Chain".
This project, together with other four projects around the world, was studied by the PERL organization which found that they all have three characteristics in common.
They aim at sustainable changes on a regional scale, they share explicit goal with the active participation of the citizen, they are led by a design agency or design schools.
The role of the designer are often to TRIGGER, to COORDINATE or to AMPLIFY local projects in order to generate sustainable changes on larger scale.
A constellation of Design Activities: in every social innovation process different actors participate in different ways at different moments in a sequence of diverse and sometimes contrasting events.
BOTH SOCIAL INNOVATION AND PARTICIPATORY DESIGN CAN BE DESCRIBED AS:
Creative and proactive activities.
Complex, co-design activities that call for a set of dedicated and designed artifacts.
Highly dynamic processes.
DESIGNERS CAN BE:
Part of a co-design team.
Facilitators which works in co-designing teams is the most widely recognized.
MAKING THINGS HAPPEN: the most effective and specific way to express the modern role of designers.