10 lessons learned after the conference on ‘Design for social innovation and social design’
18 Nov 2020 /

10 lessons learned after the conference on ‘Design for social innovation and social design’

The 29 and 30 October saw the holding of the first conference on ‘Design for social innovation and social design’, organised by the Association of Designers of the Valencian Community (ADCV) and Las Naves, and chaired by the historian and researcher Raquel Pelta.

A total of two days during which professionals dedicated to design, citizen innovation and placemaking, have shed light on a rising trend. The main aim? To resolve social problems by moving from a habitual and product-centred design perspective to another focused on the activation of processes and new methodologies.

The door was opened to new formats for the intrinsic values of all the design practices: participation, research, and the improvement of the surrounding environment.

We have complied ten key ideas:

  1. Social innovation is characterised by being a way of acting differently, it is innovative in the context in which it is inserted, it is replicable, it resolves social challenges, it looks to the common good over and above individual benefits and it should be applied in a practical, not merely theoretic, manner.
  2. The foundation on which to sustain social innovation is based on networks for citizen collaboration and cooperation, which are the keys to success in the resolution of social problems.
  3. Social innovation democratises innovation, since, with its application, it is placed in the hands of the community.
  4. The purpose of social design is the wellbeing of society.
  5. The designers who participate in social innovation facilitate the empowerment of the community.
  6. The proposals for social innovation arose in the urban scope, but they are increasingly being generated in the rural world.
  7. Social innovation should achieve the aim of living better, but with a decreasing use of resources, owing to the climate crisis we are currently experiencing.
  8. Social innovation is based on a governance model that includes communal assets, the community itself that benefits from these assets and the rules provided to the community to manage these assets.
  9. Although it is very difficult to measure the success of design in participation processes, as with industrial or graphic design, it is important to assess the results.
  10. One of the challenges that we must face in social innovation is to achieve shared and feminised leadership.

From Valencia World Design Capital 2022 we have collaborated with the initiative, moderating the round table ‘Limits and possibilities of the social focuses of Design’ led by the designer Kike Correcher. Participants included Mireia Juan (of Makea tu vida), the urban economist and placemaker Ramón Marrades and the conference director, Raquel Pelta.

The participants took the opportunity to contribute their views on the fact that Valencia is to be World Design Capital in 2022.

“It is one of the best pieces of news of recent years. I believe it has generated a very wide alliance of players. How will we use it to transform ourselves as a society?” said Ramón Marrades.

For her part, Mireia Juan commented: “I would like to see a strong push for the teaching and dissemination of social design, and the incorporation of these practices as professional rather than altruistic in the projects of the administrations.”

To be continued.