Service Design and Connectivity @ Making Together BarCamp – Milano Design Week

In which way collaboration can change society and people?” Methods BarCamp is a collaborational non conference which allows to communicate and deepen experiences about transformation processes, confronting methods, researches and good practices. Dialogue will be carried on by subjects from different disciplines, who are interested in participative processes and those practices which put “human being at centre” and contribute to individual growth. BarCamp is for authors who: – promote creative expression – facilitate the development of new point of views in a context – let values and resources of a territory emerge – follow and facilitate a sustainable development and, in general, enhance the person as part of a community.

These are the topics of the BarCamp organized for Making Together exhibition during the Milano Design Week in April.
We participated at the event, speaking about the results of the Final Design Studio of Product Service System Master Degree Course of Politecnico di Milano. The projects presented were about Service Design for Cities, an approach to enable participation, connections and relationships between creativity and the Milano resources and values.

You can download the presentation in .pdf file
ServiceDesignforCities _ Beatrice Villari

Connectivity on Social Innovation Europe

We just released an interview on the idea behind Designing Connectivity to the Social Innovation Europe Initiative website.
This is a new resource providing the latest information on European social innovation – featuring interviews with prominent innovators, case studies of successful ventures, the latest research, and in-depth analysis.
The Social Innovation Europe initiative (SIE) represents a major effort to build and streamline the social innovation field in Europe. The project is run by a consortium of partners including Euclid Network and the Danish Technological Institute and led by the Social Innovation eXchange (SIX) at the Young Foundation.

Find out more about Social Innovation Europe
Read our interview

Innovation Convention 2011

On 5 and 6 December 2011, the European Commission held its first Innovation Convention in Brussels. This conference gave an overview of current innovation projects and concepts in Europe, while also confronting the perspective of relevant speakers from all over the world. Included were sessions on Social Innovation and interesting debates on the inclusion of Social Sciences and Humanities in the future Innovation European strategies.

Connectivity micro principles

Few general principles of connectivity are underlined in the following:

Access – anything anywhere for sharing, manufacturing, distributing; you can access knowledge, skills, resources, services, but especially people. They can share your ideas and form a critical volume to make things happen.

Interdependence – of participants who support each other and engage in reciprocal exchanges to obtain a real benefit for all. This means going back to concepts that seemed outdated, such as bartering or forming communities. The real wealth of society is to be found in the same links that allow its existence.

Adaptability – of dynamic and flexible systems (networks) with no shape or hierarchy. Structures can be rearranged and re-imagined based on the situation, and members can be differently activated to create new solutions.

Resilience – of well-established, well-connected networks that become structures capable of
remodeling their features depending on the situation.

Three emerging areas in Designing Connectivity

Individuals: connecting people for social change
Connectivity is the capacity of systems to link up and communicate, in order to exchange valuable resources and information. Thanks to the evolution of social technologies in the last years, this capacity has increased exponentially, provoking profound changes in economy, society, culture. This is a structural change that deserves to be investigated by designers (among other professionals), since it touches the ways individuals become citizens through the infinite struggle of socialisation and opens up new paths for innovation.
Connecting to generate social change is one of the main modern challenges since the strength of the “WE” is
looked at with great expectations: open source movements, crowdsourcing platforms, solidarity purchasing groups are just few of many yet undiscovered possibilities.
Designers have therefore expanded their interests to understanding methods, tools, and techniques to design exchange relationships and enabling platforms that allow people with common interests to meet up (to connect) for action, it being sharing a car or mapping the human genome.

Companies: connecting SMEs and design for innovation
The main actors in this specific area of intervention in the Italian landscape are generally local and national institutions working on territorial and entrepreneurial development. Specifically these are local development agencies and companies incubators, both public and private. These actors are nowadays increasingly looking at linking up with universities and research centres.
In terms of national activities aimed at promoting the link between design and SMEs the Italian situation is quite fragmented. The system of actors is well developed. Nevertheless real projects and other kinds of interventions don’t live up to the system – actions are seldom developed in a networked collaborative way and are often overlapping. A connected and collaborative approach amongst all actors (companies, design industry, universities, research centres, institutions) is instead desirable.
The support of design and the promotion of a link between design and industry are developed by a scattered number of actors. Such initiatives stop at the initial stage, as soon as funding is over.

Places: connecting and collaborating for sustainability
Territories are places where skills, knowledge, culture, and material goods are integrated, and as such they are of interest to develop (to design) strategies for local development. This is based on promoting sustainable change for places and people, as a process that enables the creation of networks between public and private institutions, people and/or communities aiming at economical, social, cultural and environmental change.
Few principles explain the relationship between design and territories:
Knowledge. Territories are a medium for knowledge. They can multiply the value of local knowledge, matching local and global networks to spread innovation amongst enterprises, social actors, communities.
Connections. Our daily environment has a network shape, because it is made of relationships and interactions that take place in real time, despite great distances. This is as well the nature of a territorial system. Thus this is observable not only from a physical/geographical point of view, but also as an area with a central role for sustainable socio-economical development.

MindMapping Connectivity

Here follow the maps developed during the seminar together with participants. They have been aimed at exploring Connectivity at the three levels of Individuals, Companies and Places for each one discussing on the topic of What, Why and How to design connectivity.

Individuals: connecting people for social change

The design of connectivity is relevant to create a smarter society, to enable people to act, to remove barriers as well as creating resource eff ectiveness, maximise the resilience of communities and empowering people in participating. In the future this might lead to a convergence between physical and digital, the dematerialisation of products and the increased importance of individuals as capable of generating social capital that is vital to social regeneration and to promote a shift towards collaborative behaviors.

Companies: connecting SMEs and design for innovation

Should creativity be a consistent part of a business model based on collaboration or an external output?
Or should the two be equal contributions to the firm’s development?
A service economy, creative commons licenses, social technologies are all examples of how the economy and the society are equally moving towards a new kind of firm and a new kind of organisation that is not a stock market share or a value to be bought and sold. The challenge is therefore to reconfigure these assets and prepare the ground for new ecosystems that will generate this new kind of company, using a new exchange currency that is collaboration.

Places: connecting and collaborating for sustainability

In this systemic vision connectivity means mainly linking needs with resources and opportunities, developing social enterprise models, but also more simply sharing experiences.
Connectivity is in fact reshaping the idea of ownership and allowing the combination of different stakeholders to generate a broader view of a problem. Moreover it is becoming increasingly relevant to build social capital that allows the emergence of innovative ideas and the harnessing of lead users insights.
Design emerges with an important role in working on connectivity, because it can create a shared identity and a participated understanding of a vision for the future of a community.

Designing Connectivity Map

Attempting to read the possibilities of designing connectivity intended as new ways to designing products and services, new paths to help industry flourish, new platforms and approaches to strengthening communities, we have built a work-in-progress map of current practices.
By investigating cases in a mainly European context three macro areas emerged
where design encounters the challenge of designing connectivity at large, while
involving elements of creativity, user participation, business model generation
and local development.