Medea research on design for social innovation has been featured in Knowledge Connect, a site where the latest thinking on “social impact” is reviewed. A recently published article in Co-Design by Hillgren et al is reviewed and, in another article, the research environment at Medea is placed alongside esteemed actors such as IDEO and the UK Design Council.
Linking social innovation & design and a critical approach
The Knowledge Connect reviewer thinks the Co-Design article Prototyping and infrastructuring in design for social innovation is interesting for two reasons:
First, it opens up the links between social innovation and design approaches (such as participatory design) that have been evolving in Northern Europe since at least the 1970s. The contribution (actual and potential) of these approaches is not always adequately acknowledged in literature which frames the link between design and social innovation as having a much more recent history or that links the evolution of social design to North American traditions of ‘user-centred design’ (stemming more from technology and product design disciplines).
Second, this article is interesting in terms of the way the authors have engaged with the critiques focused on the use of design in social innovation. They have certainly demonstrated that these critiques are being taken seriously, and could indeed lead to some even more exciting conversations in the future! It does, however, leave the reader with some real and practical questions, questions which plague the social innovation field more generally, such as who may pay for the long-term involvement of designers in social sector organisations, and how design could be built into interdisciplinary teams around the social sector more effectively so that designers do not have to reinvent the wheel in addressing complex social issues.
Medea on the map of design and social innovation
In the article written by Knowledge Connect’s editor (Autumn [sic!] 2012: Design and Social Innovation), the research environment on design and social innovation at Medea is placed alongside esteemed actors like La 27e Région, IDEO and the Design Council in the UK.
– Prototyping and infrastructuring in design for social innovation (2011)
– Dealing with Dilemmas: Participatory Approaches in Design for Social Innovation (2011)
– Participatory Design and ‘Democratizing Innovation’ (2010)
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