Design Management Academy 2017 Hong Kong

Track 4.c At the Intersection Social Innovation and Philosophy

*Virginia Tassinari, LUCA School of Arts, Belgium
Clive Dilnot, The New School of Design, USA
Ezio Manzini, Politecnico di Milano, Italy
* contact:

Increasingly, designers are asked to play a role in innovation processes taking place in society, either by initiating new approaches to weave social tissue, by amplifying or scaling up existing initiatives or by creating the preconditions for these initiatives to prosper. By doing so, they touch upon new meanings and values that are about to emerge in society, often increasing their visibility and moving them towards the centre of our everyday lives. For instance, a new sense of community and citizenship emerges where designers attempt to increase citizen participation in co-designing new services for their cities. As time progresses, the meaning of notions such as politics, aesthetics and citizenship shift and designers need to adapt to these changes and help to initiate or steer the adaptation process. Thus they no longer just work to create new services: they are engaging in a cultural operation. This raises important questions such as: Are we designers always aware of the cultural implications of our work? How to take these implications into account? Are we always aware of the shift of meanings and values to which we contribute when working on social innovation? Do we deal with it critically?

Philosophy has traditionally dealt with the interpretation of meanings and values produced throughout history. As a discipline, it can help us to better frame the new meanings and values that we designers are uncovering, (re)shaping or amplifying in our societies. Which meanings and values are we talking about? Can philosophy help us to critically assess these new meanings and values, framing them culturally and increase our awareness of their implications on our culture? Can philosophy help to bring more critical awareness and continuous reflection in processes of social innovation? Which philosophical traditions are better suited to look into in this sense? How can these reflections practically help us in our design practice aimed at social innovation? This track will put into dialogue meanings and values emerging from practices of social innovation with diverse philosophical traditions.

Indicative References

Agamben, G. (1999). Potentialities: Collected essays in philosophy. Stanford, California: Standford University Press.

Arendt, H. (1958). The human condition. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press

Dilnot, C. (2005). Ethics? Design? in Trigerman, S. (Ed.), The Archeworks Papers, 1(2). Chicago, USA

DiSalvo, C. (2012). Adversarial design. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT press

Hinderliter, B. (2009). Maimon V., Mansoor J., McCormick S., Apter E., Rancière J. Communities of sense: Rethinking aesthetics and politics. E-Duke Books Scholarly Collection. Durham: Duke University Press of Sense

Koskinen, I. (2016). Agonistic, convivial, and conceptual aesthetics in new social design no access. Design Issues, 32(3), 18–29 doi:10.1162/DESI_a_00396

Latour, B. (2008) A Cautious Prometheus? A Few Steps Toward a Philosophy of Design in Hackne F., Glynne J. and Minto V. Proceedings of the 2008 Annual International Conference of the Design History Society – Falmouth, 3–6 September 2009, Universal Publishers, pp. 2–10.

Manzini, E. (2014) Making things happen: Social innovation and design no access. Design Issues, 30(1), 57–66. doi:10.1162/DESI_a_00248

Manzini, E., & Coad R. (2015). Design, when everybody designs: An introduction to design for social innovation. Design Thinking, Design Theory Series. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press Limited

Manzini, E. (2016). Design culture and dialogic design. Design Issues, 32(1), 52–59. doi:10.1162/DESI_a_00364

Rancière, J. & Corcoran S. (2010). Dissensus: On politics and aesthetics. London: Bloomsbury Academic.

Rancière, J. (2004). The politics of aesthetics: The distribution of the sensible. London and New York: Continuum.