News / DfNR seminar videos are up!
If you missed the live streaming of the Designing for New Realities! seminar, never fear. The seminar is now online on YouTube. As summed up by moderator Alastair Fuad-Luke, "the collective ambition of the speakers and audience was palpable and, hopefully, societies are ready to take action to finally validate the foundation laid by an earlier generation who raised the socially conscious design flag back in the 1960s."
Fuad-Luke's notes on the seminar are below:
"This was an ambitious day with a challenging agenda, attended by an audience of over 130 people comprising several ambassadors, the President of Aalto University, academics, public sector managers, government agencies, designers, researchers and students. Live internet streaming of the event to 45 countries enabled over 260 individuals to tune in. Their common interest was to listen to 14 speakers from Finland, India, China, USA and South Africa talk about ‘design for real societal impact’. Each presentation offered fresh insights, from past and present, showing how the nature and purpose of design is dynamic and tuned to new societal and cultural currents. Cross-cutting themes emerged as the day progressed. In particular:
- design can have a holistic impact
- when designing with communities there should be a focus on the social structures, encouraging inclusive innovation and “leaving your assumptions at the door”
- spending time with communities, doing lots of field work, co-designing (designing together) and inter-disciplinary collaboration are essential to create positive impacts
- putting the people first by adopting attitudes of humility mixed with naïve confidence can help deal with complex systems and help deliver socially conscious design
- allies can be found in the communities and partners themselves
- encourage empathy, find design champions with political influence, and trust collective wisdom
…and, if we can get some of this mix right then we can feel confident that design can offer positive societal impacts! The collective ambition of the speakers and audience was palpable and, hopefully, societies are ready to take action to finally validate the foundation laid by an earlier generation who raised the socially conscious design flag back in the 1960s."
Sotamaa's talk is a welcome refresher on our recent history, and puts today's ideas of design for a better society in sharper relief. For many of us, the 1960s is a period our parents lived through, and we remember only the strangely familiar shadows of its culture through television, iconic photographs, and books that were around the house when we were very young. Often, the optimism particular to the 60s seems naive: bucky balls, hippie festivals, and a budding environmental movement; but is it possible that we're currently seeing a revival of those left-wing attitudes in design? Even in today's design environment, where a business model is as big a part of your education as is creativity, the echoes of the 60s are stronger than we might think.
…’an “acupuncture design approach” where a new design driven social innovation and entrepreneurship could have a holistic impact’, Professor Lou Yongqi, Tongji University, Shanghai
Field work, co-design, and interdisciplinary collaboration
‘User-centred design (UCD) and co-design help … enable trust building, feed the imagination and creativity’, Dr Tuuli Mattelmäki
‘Field work, UCD and prototyping with inter-disciplinary collaboration’, Linus Liang (LL), COO, Embrace
‘The inter-disciplinary team approach to ‘bottom-up urban infrastructure systems’ Eric Bazcuk (EB), Research Fellow, MIT SENSEable City Lab
Attitudes for design
‘Above all, the designer must adopt humility’, Professor Olli Varis
‘Designers should trust their “naïve confidence” to effect design solutions, or the sheer complexity of these human environments might be daunting’, Professor Turkka Keinonen
‘Socially conscious design is embedded in the African traditional worldview of getting close to the energy, getting proximate but distinguishing between the genders, the solidarity of Ubantu humanism, the Sacred and ‘batho pele’ or ‘people first’’. Dr Mugendi M’Rithaa (MM’R), Cape Peninsula University of Technology, South Africa
Thoughts from the panel
‘Who are our best allies to help us add more positive societal impacts by design?’ “Everyone if we use collective wisdom”, EB “Our allies are in the communities themselves”, MM’R
‘What is the tool that is missing from the toolbox?’ “Design champions that have political influence”, MM’R. “A dialogue tool with government”, LL.
‘How do we communicate results to a wider audience?’ “Empathy promotes informed dialogue”, MM’R