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Ezio Manzini challenges our view on design - when everybody designs

News: Oct 19, 2015

Link to interview: When Everybody Designs - Ezio Manzini, Forskartorget 2015

Link to seminar: When Everybody Designs - Ezio Manzini, Forskartorget 2015

End of September, at the Book Fair – Bokmässan – as well as at the seminar arranged by BDL and ADA at HDK the day before, Ezio Manzini talked about the challenges that society faces and how we need to re-think our way of dealing with these challenges, not turning them into problems, but, with the creative mind of design, seeing new opportunities that can lead to new solutions. Ezio Manzini was in Göteborg to talk about and discuss his recent book: “Design, when everybody designs”, a book about design and social innovations. These days, however, especially when you talk about social innovation, you cannot avoid talking about the situation with refugees and migrants that the whole of Europe has to manage if society is not about to collapse. Ezio mean that we will face a collapse of society with the growing waves that cause intractable problems. We need to talk about resilience rather than sustainability in order not to collapse. We also need a new narrative of prosperity! What design can do is then the rhetoric question. That’s is why social innovation has emerged as an area for design, a logic development in a society where services are more important than the traditional manufacturing industries. But this is also why we see many non-designers acting in a designerly way. At the breakfast seminar at Bokmässan, organized by SVID, The Swedish Industrial Design Foundation, Robin Edman, CEO of SVID, Eva-Karin Anderman, project leader of SVID’s project People Powered Future, and Ezio Manzini, discussed how society can gain from approaching problems from a design perspective in the broad sense, but also how dependent society is of the individuals that take lead in this.

When it comes to social innovation every social innovation starts with a hero! There are many people who are doing great things and shows how problems can be solved in new ways. Ezio Manzini calls them heroes. But the heroes will move on to the next thing and therefore all those activities and ideas for solving a situation need to be taken over by institutions so they can continue with a long term effect. We do need heroes but we cannot rely upon them for the continuation. The heroes have a design mind; they see the opportunities and create solutions. They are not necessarily designers by profession, i.e expert designers, but they act as designers. Sometimes this is referred to as design thinking, which in its essence is about diffusing design. But the more people act as designers the more we need expert designers via studies and experience. Design thinking has been too much about writing on post-its. Knowledge and tools need to be developed by experts. That is why design education is needed, but probably needs to rethink how design is taught. Designers need to develop their capacity to see and visualize complex structures.

You can take part of the discussion at the breakfast seminar on
link to discussion
You can also listen to a short introduction of the book project from Bokmässan
link to short introduction


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