Monday, August 8, 2011

Design for Social Innovation: An Interview With Ezio Manzini (Part 1 & 2)

 Ezio Manzini
Wow! Much good stuff is comming from Italy these days! Like the Slow Food Movement, ISB, Gruppo Salingaros, and just now I became aware of DESIS Network, founded by Ezio Manzini.
Ezio Manzini is an Italian design strategist, one of the world’s leading experts on sustainable design, author of numerous design books, professor of Industrial Design at Milan Polytechnic, and founder of the DESIS (Design for Social Innovation towards Sustainability) network of university-based design labs. His work over the past 30 years in sustainability and social innovation has coalesced around four watchwords: small, local, open and connected. On a recent Friday morning we spoke via skype and I was immediately impressed with his easy manner, warmth and balanced optimism. - Shareable
Read the interview: Part I (Design for Social Innovation: An Interview With Ezio Manzini) & Part II (Ezio Manzini on the Economics of Design for Social Innovation).
Beyond that, of course there are also some thinkers who have been very important to me. I like to quote Amartya Sen. He's a Nobel Prize winning economist who introduced me to the notion of “capabilities”. His main work deals with social equity. His approach focuses on positive freedom, a person’s actual ability to be who they want to be and do what they want to do. It’s the idea of empowering the capabilities of people. In my view this is a very strong idea for design. In some way, when you design, you search for problems to be solved. If you take the capability approach, you search for capabilities to support. This is a paradigmatic change in the way that we think. This is connected to social innovation. You don’t ask what you can do to make people behave differently. You ask what you can do to recognize people’s capabilities and help people use those to solve the problems they face. - Ezio Manzini
Ezio Manzini on Vimeo:

Ezio Manzini-Keynote: Design for Social Innovation and Sustainability from Interaction Design Association on Vimeo.

His websites:

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