Design schools as agents of change. Design schools are, first and foremost, places where the next generation of design experts are educated. This fundamental educational role can be considered as an investment in the future: if we want to build a better future, we have to ensure that its constructors are well prepared and suitably equipped, thereby, in this case, producing competent designers. Design schools, in their work to build a better future, now have the potential to play a second important role as agents of sustainable change. In other words, to behave as critical and creative actors in today’s context, i.e. the ongoing social and environmental transition phase we happen to be living in.
what do desis labs do?
It is important to note that this second role (agents of change) largely reinforces the first (to educate future generations of designers). As the world continues to undergo fundamental changes, the most effective way to prepare the (competent) designers of the future is to involve students in problems, opportunities and design methods that, today, appear radically new.
Thanks to this involvement, students have the potential to play a meaningful role in contemporary society (developing projects and creating critical knowledge) while simultaneously equipping themselves to be the leading designers of the future (a time when the problems, opportunities and design modalities that are emerging today will have become the new standards).
DESIS Labs activities
An overview. In the past ten years, the 48 DESIS Labs, representing the nodes of the DESIS Network, have set up and participated in a large number of social innovation-related projects. Looking at these initiatives, it is clear that they take place in different areas of application and adopt different tools and strategies; some of them are visible on the DESIS Network website, while others have been presented at different DESIS events. However, until now, DESIS had conducted no general overviews on the Labs’ projects, which meant that they had not been mapped and there had been no observation or discussion of the emerging themes. This work now has been done, and we finally have a map of the DESIS Labs’ completed and ongoing work. We acknowledge that this first map is not perfect; it can and will be improved. Nevertheless, it permits us to take a big step forward in understanding what the DESIS Labs do and, on this basis, what the DESIS Network is. The map clearly shows that several Labs projects are converging in two main areas, and from this observation, we decided to create two dedicated (digital) spaces, called the DESIS Thematic Areas.
Design for Social Innovation and Cities (DxSIC)
Includes DESIS Labs’ projects with the keywords City, Social Innovation and Design. The aim of this TA is to gain deeper insight into these projects’ characteristics, specifically their aims, methodologies, results and the stakeholders involved.
Design for Social Innovation and Services (DxSIS)
Includes DESIS Labs projects with the keywords Services, Social Innovation and Design. This TA aims to gain deeper insight into these projects´ characteristics, specifically their aims and results.
DESIS Network’s 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.”
DESIS Network’s 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.” Applying members who share the same vision and fulfil the following requirements will become DESIS Labs.
Members can be legally constituted higher education institutions or Universities with design disciplines (hereinafter referred to also only as “higher education institutions” or only as “Universities”), private or public, sharing DESIS motivations and visions and supporting DESIS activities (Labs projects, international Initiatives, Platform improvements).
Once the Membership Request Letter and its attachments have been received by the International Coordination Committee, they will be analysed in order to verify if the formal requirements are satisfied. On this basis, feedback will be send to the interested teams.
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