sábado, maio 31, 2008

Changing The Change: A Good Idea!

"The industrial age is over, really is over, it once made sense, but it doesn’t make sense now. We just have to look around us. Many of the positive creations of the industrial era are now less and less relevant and no longer fit for purpose: our schools and education system, our hospitals and health system, our production and consumption system and our very lifestyles. Where does this leave Design? Is Design, also primarily an industrial construct, less and less fit for purpose?

There is a risk that in the industrial sunset design becomes a parody of itself or becomes increasingly commoditized, as it is taken ever more for granted by its industrial masters. There are risks, but if the industrial era is over, there are also great opportunities. This is a time when we have to re-invent just about everything and such times urgently need the specific thinking, skills and capabilities of design. But society needs a different design, not industrial but social, a design that is part of the solution and not part of the problem. If this is so, then it interesting to ask the questions: what is holding us back and what is pushing us forwards?

So what holds us back? In part the impression that the 21st century still feels very much like the 20th. We still live by an economic ideology that believes growth is based on ever more productivity and consumption and so we still buy lots and we still consume lots. At the same time we are all children of the 20th century. We have 20th century mindsets and 20th century training and perhaps this is why, even if the industrial age has had its day, we keep on looking backwards and all too often doing what we have always done? And anyway real change isn’t easy. There is no rule book, no instructions of use for the next age. What is easier is to pull the future back to the past. This means that instead of systemic structural change, change that facilitates the new socio-techno-economic conditions to flourish and take us to a new era of prosperity and wellbeing, we co-opt the future back to the past. We colonize the future driven by habit, interests and fear.

So what pushes us forward? In short, the desire to grow, to explore, to create and need. In a change of age we face many social challenges whereby society, both in the developed and developing world, needs to invent or re-invent just about everything for an ecological age, including health, education, mobility, etc. Such a re-invention and re-design of systems, however, is about social innovation rather than market innovation. It places the emphasis away from the consumer and his/her needs towards the society and its needs. It gives attention less to the individual and more to the collective, less to a need and more to the activity and the context, , less to the product and more to an ecosystem of information, service and experience. If this is what society needs and where society is going then companies will surely follow, as the big industrial corporations also have to re-invent themselves. And this is the necessity and an opportunity for Design to free itself from becoming a commodity to becoming a strategic differentiator. Who better to help design new social systems than Design? If Design does this, and as the social industries supersede the industrial industries, then Design could certainly be to the 21st century what Marketing was to the 20th.

What does this mean for Design? A large part of the answer must lie in the increasingly strategic role of Design Research. Design research is the instrument at the service of Design, exploring and building Design’s role and contribution in the field of social innovation and re-design of critical social areas. Addressing social innovation as a set of design challenges is the means. What are the challenges? What new competencies must we grow in social research, social design, systems design, context design, and service design? Which approaches, methods and tools do we need to develop? How do we facilitate the participatory networks and co-creative practices? How do we imagine new value for a new age?"

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sexta-feira, maio 23, 2008

Design Cork for Future, Innovation and Sustainability

Exposição dos resultados do projecto "Design Cork" que teve por objectivo a utilização da cortiça como factor de inovação ao nível do design (novo desenvolvimento de produto) e sua relação com a industria, investigação e sustentabilidade.

Os 37 protótipos de novos produtos em cortiça, desenvolvidos por designers Portugueses e Holandeses, estão expostos no Museu Berardo, até ao próximo Domingo, 25 de Maio.

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