Archive for October, 2006

October 9, 2006

Supporting innovation of creative communities, an exibition for Kulturnatten in Aalborg

In a fast changing cultural, social and economic word new problems, preferences and needs are emerging, which can neither find any answer in the institutional system, nor in the existing industrial system.

New needs are emerging in our everyday life, which come from the growing diversity of our society, from progressive changes in lifestyles, family structures and work arrangements and from macroscopic changes in our society (such as ageing of population and work mobility).

The most innovative and promising solutions to such emerging problems are often coming from communities, rather than from institutions. Creative communities all over the world are organising themselves, without waiting for institutional intervention, to solve local problems or to open new possibilities. The side effects of such initiatives are equally relevant: a higher cohesion of social fabric and, in most cases, a reduction of the ecological footprint.

Cases of bottom-up initiatives from creative communities are absolutely not new in
Denmark, which has a long and successful history of cooperation. It is important, however, to “wake up” this spirit in an historical moment in which such initiatives can represent a critical success factor for our society.

The A&D contribution to Kulturnatten 2006 in Aalborg focuses on innovative solutions to support cooperation and to enhable creativity in local communities.

The two exhibitions inside and outside the main building at theschool of
Architecture and Design are focusing on this spirit.

The exhibition “Sustainable Everyday”, inside the A&D building, presents a catalogue of cases showing how creative communities all over the world have developed original solutions, such as: production activities based on local resources and skills; healthy, natural forms of nutrition; self-managed services for the care of children and the elderly; new forms of value exchange; alternative mobility systems to replace the monoculture of individual cars; socialising initiatives to bring cities to life; networks linking consumers directly with producers. Rather than representing a niche of social innovation, those cases can be regarded as a potential for emerging models around which social and economic resources could be organised.

The exhibition, developed as part of an EU funded project, is the result of the work of different working groups in many European countries.

The pavilions outside the building have been created as part of a workshop for international students at Architecture and Design. The pavilions generate opportunities for social cooperation and interaction and, at the same time, they are a connection to the potential expressed by the cultural and social conditions in this city. They refer to local cooperation within our neighbourhoods, as well as to the potential of cooperation to re-construct urban qualities on the water front and the potential of cultural institutions in
Aalborg, which were born as a result of local creative communities.

October 8, 2006

Welcome to the system design Blog

This blog has been created to disseminate and share knowledge about System Design within the design communities.

Designers are used to work on products and they learned how to control its design and production process. However the evolution of social, technical and economic systems is running very fast, changing the role and the structure of industrial production. The “industry” designers refer to has no longer the same role in our economies, nor is it organised the same way as few years ago. The whole system of production and consumption is changing, becoming more complex and diversified. The success, or even the survival of several industrial companies depends on their capability to interpret such change and to offer specific, context-dependent and highly customised solutions.

True, there may be designers in the future, who will keep working on products, whose nature and characteristics are also changing. But more and more designers will be required to work with companies, to interpret the above mentioned change in the production and consumption system and to propose innovative solutions, that are not necessarily based on material products, but are rather based on a mix of products and services (a Product Service System, or PSS).

In the last seven years I’ve been working on research and teaching activities focused on the design of such solutions and I believe it is is now the moment to put together the ideas and the findings from my research (my personal research, the discussions with my colleagues and the work with groups of very talented and enthusiastic students). It is now time to expose this knowledge to a wider audience and discuss it.

This blog will therefore include contributions from my teaching, research and theoretical activities. I will include my lectures (in the best possible form, maybe a podcast), my reflections and my doubts; and I hope to receive enough feedbacks (criticisms are more than welcome) to use this as a further opportunity to know more and possibly offer a contribution to this area of research.

In general my posts will concern:

  • HOW? How do we design systemic solutions? How do we structure the design process of PSS? How do we manage the various methodological tools? How do we develop an operative paradigm?
  • WHAT? What are those solutions? What do they imply for designers, industries, institutions or final users? What is an operative paradigm?
  • WHY? Why should we focus our attention on systemic solutions? What are the ethical, professional and political imperative that suggest us to work in this area?

I hope visitors of this blog will find it interesting

Nicola Morelli