Friday, 31 October 2014

design policies: the thesis




from october 2009 to may 2013 i was fully dedicated to research, discuss, and write about public design policies. that was the length of my stay at cranfield university, united kingdom, developing my doctoral studies. finally in november 2013 i went through my viva (final exam) and was approved, after reviewing a few topics suggested.

the research was entitled: the impact of european design policies and their implications on the development of a framework to support future brazilian design policies.

only recently the library of the university made available a link to my phd thesis, which i now share with you:


i hope you enjoy and make a good use of it!

update:



in a ceremony on 27.11.2014, my phd thesis was honoured with the first prize at the 28th design award from the museum of brazilian home, in the category of unpublished writings. the mcb award is the most traditional design award in brazil, and is distributed since 1986.

update 2:



on 23.05.2016 i had the honour to receive the highest distinction (gold award trophy) from the international award objeto:brasil, becoming the second award given to my thesis.

Friday, 4 January 2013

words spread in the wind?



it is noticeable how recurrent became terms like creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship over the last years, gaining prominence associated with the promotion of wealth, industrial advance, social development and ultimately economic growth. and design is joining it closely. but wasn’t it always like this? these same words – including design – could be applied to most of the achievements of mankind. the human aptitude to invent and develop tools to help hunting, cooking, working, transporting, had been considered to be – together with the opposable thumb – as the engine of evolution, the differential factor setting human species apart from other living beings.

then what is new about it? why being 'creative' became so significant now? or is it just a trend that will be blown in the whirlwind of economy in its search for nourishing novelty? how and why these words/concepts might be coming together and laying foundations for national design policies?

teresa amabile(1) describes innovation as the implementation of creative ideas. a formula that could be otherwise expressed like this:

creativity + entrepreneurship = innovation

and design could be considered either to be part of this sum of creativity and entrepreneurship or as well as a driver towards innovation.

but what context made these factors prominent? the global entrepreneurship research association points that, within the contingency faced by the world’s economy, “entrepreneurship can help reverse a downward economic trend”(2). the same report states that “business entrepreneurs drive and shape innovation”. so, entrepreneurship and innovation are considered to be crucial factors to reverse the current economic crisis.

to be innovation-driven is considered to be the highest ranking of competitiveness stages among countries. this categorization (adapted from michael porter’s “the competitive advantage of nations”(3)) emerges from the world economic forum’s global competitiveness report. there, a country’s economic development is said to fell into three possible subsequent stages: factor-driven (extractive), efficiency-driven (scale-intense) and innovation-driven (unique goods and services)(4),(5)

could design be considered one factor or a driver towards innovation? according to david kester, ceo (former) of the uk design council, in toughest market conditions, “business leaders are increasing their spend on design as they seek to out-compete and out-innovate” (6). the european commission have recently, in the context of the year of creativity and innovation, launched a document where design is appointed as a driver of innovation(7). and the european innovation plan(8), released in the autumn of 2010, furthermore explore and encourage this use of design.

therefore, the 'new context'  faced by the words/concepts creativityentrepreneurshipdesign and innovation is that of an world economy confronted by sharp decrease. within this scenario, jobs are scarce, competitiveness is a survival strategy, and knowledge is the highest ranked merchandise. the answer seems to be working out the potential of mankind’s engine of evolution – its ability to designcreate, enterprise, and innovate.

it is neither a doomsday scenario nor one where designers will manage to save mankind. but any nation aspiring to be elevated to the category of innovation-driven, aligned with more developed and sophisticated economies, should pay closer attention to which drivers do effectively promote innovation. and design is indeed a key factor in this environment.


references:

(1) amabile, t.m; conti, r.; coon, h.; lazenby, j.; herron, m. (1996). assessing the work environment for creativity. academy of management journal, vol.39, no.5, p.1154-1184. 
(2) bosma,n. and levie,j. (2010), global entrepreneurship monitor 2009 executive report, global entrepreneurship research association, london, available at http://www.gemconsortium.org (accessed 11 apr 2010). 
(3) porter,m.e. (1990), the competitive advantage of nations, macmillan, london.
(4) porter,m.e.; sachs,j.j.; mcarthur,j. (2002). executive summary: competitiveness and stages of economic development, in porter et al., the global competitiveness report 2001-2002, (p.16-25), oxford university press, new york. 
(5) schwab,k. (2009), the global competitiveness report 2009-2010, world economic forum, geneva, switzerland, available at http://www.weforum.org/pdf/gcr09/gcr20092010fullreport.pdf (accessed 07 jul 2010). 
(6) livesey,f. and moultrie,j. (2009), company spending on design: exploratory survey of uk firms 2008, university of cambridge, institute for manufacturing, cambridge, available at http://www.ifm.eng.cam.ac.uk/dmg/documents/090406company_design_spend.pdf (accessed 16 dec 2009)
(7) commission of the european communities (2009), reviewing community innovation policy in a changing world, cec, brussels, available at http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/policies/innovation/files/com(2009)442final_en.pdf (accessed 09 feb 2010).
(8) european commission (2010), innovation union, european commission, brussels, available at: http://ec.europa.eu/research/innovation-union/pdf/innovation-union-communication_en.pdf (accessed 01 jul 2012) 


Thursday, 31 March 2011

policy, innovation & design - a spring day in brussels



the sequence, installation at the flemish parliament, by arne quinze


how to summarise a very rich experience in just a few lines, eleven information-dense talks, discussions, meetings, experience exchange, in a few paragraphs? valuable, enlightening, substantial, inspiring, were some possible adjectives to describe this event.

see project (sharing experience europe) conference "policy, innovation & design" was held last 29th of march in brussels, belgium, on the beautiful auditorium of hall de schelp at the flemish parliament. more than 200 people, 25 countries represented, a whole day of reports and discussions, the chance to get in contact with people who are helping to strengthen the view of design as an asset that cannot be ignored by governments any more.

here are a few notes taken during some of the talks of the event.





johan valcke, director of design flanders, welcomed the participants of the congress highlighting what he described as the first steps towards an european design policy, and the importance for design flanders of the design summit that followed the congress in the evening.

the event was chaired by mark vanderbeeken (from experientia), who helped sew together all the diverse contributions. in his initial remarks, he emphasised that today more than ever design policies need stimulate thinking about how to cross barriers.

bernard de potter, general manager of enterprise flanders, addressed flanders planning for 2020, based on three drivers: smart growth, sustainable growth, and inclusive growth. he mentioned the european union goal to reach by 2020 an investment of 3% of gdp in r&d. he then sketched briefly each of the seven breakthrough projects involved in this effort: flanders learning society; the open entrepreneur; innovation centre flanders; green and dynamic urban region; europe's smart hub; caring society; decisive government. he closed his presentation highlighting the design platform flanders initiative, implemented by the 11-people team of design flanders in association with the flanders fashion institute, design platform limburg, inshape, design region kortijk and humin project.

next talk was given by gavin cawood operating director from pdr, the national centre for product design and development research, wales. "nothing changes unless you change policies", he mentioned, explaining why see project is seeking to establish an active link with local policy makers.

elena ferrario, project officer from interreg ivc, spoke about this european interregional cooperation programme dedicated to innovation and environment.

anders byriel, chairman of ddk, the danish design council, showed how the organization created in 1978  had boosted its operation with the opening of the new building in 2000. denmark was, according to him, the first european country to have an official design policy, in 1997 (which contradicted what gavin cawood had just mentioned about finland, adding some juice to further discussion and verification). anders cited the big growth of design supply companies (with more than 25 employees) in denmark, from only 4 in 1997 to 15 in 2009. he also highlighted what he considers to be some challenges to be overcome: the delivery of design content is getting more complex (hence the need for growth of the design supply companies); design's new role to help solve social challenges; the need for sme's to move one gear up to cope with the new agenda; the need for more front-end research, with technology and manufacturing involvement. according to him, denmark aims to become a "design society" by 2020.

"it's not what design is, it's what design does. if design can change the operating culture of a company, it can change the operating culture of a country."

that was the message of one of the best structured presentations of the day, by judith thompson, from new zealand's better by design programme. judith explained that the purpose of the programme is to inspire new zealand's best companies to experience success by design. and why the best companies, and not any company? because you might have the best programme in the world, but if you don't have companies that have the ability to integrate design, the propensity to transformation, a ceo open to learning, the programme will not succeed... that's why better by design initially selected 80 companies to work with two goals in mind: to inspire (expose to design) and then to enable (embed design). they followed a "design integration formula": purpose + culture + capability = differentiated consumer experience. what's next? better by design aims to become more like it's costumers and less like a government's agency.





a service design toolkit targeting local authorities, demonstrating an human-driven way of design thinking to improve the quality of public services. the kit, launched at the event by alain denis and kristel van ael, was developed by yellow window and namahn, together with design flanders and vvsg, the association of flemish cities and municipalities. the kit was distributed to all the participants of the event.

patrick janssens, mayor of antwerp, gave an inspiring talk about design in public administration through two examples. the first one, about the re-branding of the city of antwerp, started from the lack of consistency in the visual communication of the city, which used its coat of arms in about 150 different versions. a new simple and catching logo was created, and is used together with the slogan "it's everyone's town". the traditional coat of arms is associated in several uses, and this lively and contemporary new image helped to establish a better communication with citizens. but according to the mayor, branding is about content - when you don't have anything to say, it's useless. it's not about form, it's about improving services and relationships. so the re-branding keep up with a re-design of public services, as the new police stations, the second case of his presentation. the new antwerp police stations are helping to reshape the relationship of citizens and police, transforming both the environment and the services.




the mayor was followed by adina balog, from the association of flemish cities and municipalities (vvsg), who talked further about the service design toolkit, and how design specialists planned during one year to introduce local governments to service design.

from the finnish agency for innovation, sitra, brian boyer discussed design as a government capability. he accentuated that sitra focuses it's activity rather to design within government than to design for government; and to develop policies by design than policies for design. how? through experiences such as the helsinki design lab, which aims to "help government leaders see the architecture of problems" using strategic design. below is a video with an example of this activity (more can be seen on the hdl's vimeo channel).



peter dröll, head of unit at the directorate general enterprise and industry of the european commission was next, talking about the innovation union strategy, that generated in 2009 the report "design as a driver of user-centred innovation" (available here). the following step of the european design innovation initiative will be the constitution of an european design leadership board, with 15 members coming from industry, agencies, designers and higher education. the secretariat was established in helsinki, and will be head by prof. eija nieminen, director of the designium innovation centre at the aalto university. after all, design is a powerful enabler for innovation systems, according to dröll.

between the talks, during lunchtime and coffee breaks were exhibited short films showing design policy developments in spain, italy, france, wales, slovenia, estonia, finland, denmark, ireland, poland and belgium.

the event at the flemish parliament was closed by a short debate with some of the speakers of the day, moderated by the chair, mark vanderbeeken.



leaving the parliament, the signing of the flanders design platform charter at the first flanders design summit, followed by the opening of a design exhibition at the design flanders gallery provided a proper closure for the event. over a whole day, design was revealed as an effective supporter of human and economic development, and a primary tool for public administration. it may be said that the state-of-the-art of design policies from around the world flourished with the freshness of spring in brussels.

a very important update:

all the content of the conference is now available online at the see projec website here.

Sunday, 2 January 2011

a tale of two logos

the first logo: rio 2016 summer olympic games



the logo for rio 2016 summer olympic games was launched during a two-million people new year's party in copacabana beach, rio de janeiro. designed by the local studio tátil (one of the best design studios in brazil), it was a consequence of a process that begun several months ago, in a competition developed by the brazilian olympic committee with the support of the national graphic designers association, adg brazil, the brazilian association of design companies, abedesign, the brazilian association of advertising agencies, abap, and the executive board of standard rules, cenp. the competition was established upon the scope proposed by icograda, the international council of graphic design associations, and the whole process was supervised by adg, with clear and fair rules. 139 design agencies have applied, being eight selected and hired to develop concepts. the winner was chosen (and then further developed) by a team of 15 people that included representatives from the institutions involved and several experts. a transparent and well-managed process.

the outcome: a good concept, well balanced, with a careful developed lettering, unquestionably a very professional development, suggesting a number of good applications - including a beautiful 3d model shown at the launching party.

before moving to the next logo, watch these two inspiring videos - the official launch of the logo and a report on the creative process (in portuguese + english subtitles):







the second logo: fifa world football cup brazil 2014



the logo of fifa world football cup brazil 2014 was launched at the end of the south africa football cup, last july. however, it had previously leaked and was known since the end of may - yet another stumbling block in a process with much less transparency than the olympic games logo competition.

initially the same adg brazil (the brazilian graphic designers association) was invited to advise in the process of the competition, but apparently turned away by disagreements never clearly defined, clouded by a confidentiality agreement. the final logo was developed by fifa's advertising agency in brazil, agencia africa. according to fifa seven other agencies were invited - but it was never clear, again due to confidentiality agreements. the final choice of the logo was made by a "committee of notables", composed by the president of the brazilian football confederation, the executive secretary of fifa, the best seller author paulo coelho, the brazilian pop singer ivete sangalo, the super-model gisele bundchen, the 102 years old brazilian legend architect oscar niemeyer, and the german-born "brazilian" pop-star designer hans donner. undoubtedly far from a technical committee.

the logo was disclosed under heavy criticism specially from brazilian designers, which felt themselves misrepresented when the quality of brazilian design is conquering space - and many awards - worldwide. they appointed its childlike drawing, several construction problems, a bad lettering and even the disproportionate display of registered trade mark and copyright symbols as some clear signs of a non-professional creation. and it came to be known as a face hidden by a palm in an attitude of shame.

and how does it relate to design policies?

it's simple: public design competitions and procurement processes should be conducted by professional design associations or with their continuous advisement. there are clear internationally accepted rules to manage it, developed after decades of experience by institutions such as the international council of graphic design associations, icograda, and the international council of societies of industrial design associations, icsid. to ignore this might jeopardise the process and its outcomes.

(portuguese version / versão em português: www.politicasdedesign.com)

Thursday, 4 March 2010

design better than sex?

yesterday and today c4d - centre for competitive creative design, hosted a design thinking event at cranfield university.

it was opened last night with a prestige lecture by professor roy sandbach, researcher from procter & gamble, followed by black-tie dinner. according to dr sandbach, it was his first lecture to and audience (almost) all dressed-up in dinner jackets! his lecture started talking about the longevity of procter & gamble, a company founded in 1837, probably the oldest company in the field of consumer goods operating in the world, a business of 83 billion dollars operating brands estimated in 24 billion dollars. and how p&g delivers superior value and reliability to its costumers - a continuous concern of the manufacturer in a market where the re-purchase cycle of goods is less than a month. according to him, this aim is reached with "open innovation through a design lens" (part of the title of his lecture). an approach of connect & develop instead of research & develop, valuing networking, managing know-who as much as know-how, and doing one-to-one research directly with the consumer all over the world.





this morning session was opened by simon bolton, head of c4d, who talked about the growing importance of design in a very eloquent and self-explanatory demonstration: if you search google for the word god, you will get about 366 million results; sex will return 533 million; but design is hitting 1 billion! so, according to him, design could be regarded as an issue hottest than sex and god altogether...



following simon, leslie morris, from the uk design council, talked about how important it is to communicate properly the value of good design, quoting research findings that more than 90% of the population of the uk think design has to do with fashion, furniture and cars only. she had also shown some of the programs developed by the design council for the private and public sectors, as designing demand, design bugs out, design for patient dignity and design out crime, as well as programs with universities trying to define the skills needed by the young designers reaching the market today. (all these programs could be found at the design council website)



roy sandbach once more talked about procter & gamble holistic product design approach, were function and emotion both play a significant and equivalent role. and that design should bring the right brain creativity together with the left brain strategy.

simon king, operations & it director from imagination, showed how his company is constantly innovating and renewing itself in the market, in the relations and services offered to their clients, as well as inside itself, in its environment, and the internal relations between their employees. closing the morning, richard barrett, from c4d, chaired a debate with the guests.



the afternoon was a showcase of the c4d and its partner school, lcc, the london college of communication, with presentations by michael goatman, alison prendiville and martin grant (who organized the event).

in the hall, outside the vincent building auditorium, a small exhibition about design thinking showed in six products how design can make a difference.

almost in front of the vincent building, across de parking lot, the new c4d building is getting shape, all-timber and glass, a promise of a bright future for creative competitive design at cranfield university:

Friday, 15 January 2010

design: by all? - day 2, closing

(this is the fourth and last part of my notes on the event about design promotion and design policies in the european union, organized by apci under the competent coordination of jean schneider on 11 and 12 january 2010. see the first three parts on my previous posts.)


design and innovation at the european comission:




the last presentation of the conference was given by charlotte arwidi, from the european commission, giving further information on the development of the theme design and innovation from the perspective of the commission. as an introduction it were shown the video testimonials of françoise le bail, deputy director-general of enterprise and industry and jean-noël durvy, director of innovation policy at the european commission. she pointed that the european commission had stated that design should be an integral part of innovation policies, showing a slide with the following conclusions taken from the document “towards a competitive, innovative and eco-efficient europe – a contribution by the competitiveness council to the post-2010 lisbon agenda(item 33, p 8 - download it here):

(the council) “considers that the european innovation plan should include all forms of innovation in both the public and the private sector, including non-technological innovation, research-based innovation, innovation in services, design and eco-innovation”

charlotte arwidi also quoted the manifesto for for creativity and innovation in europe, released by several lead-thinkers last year in the context of the european innovation year of 2009, as well as the document already referred above, design as a driver of user-centered innovation, which, in short:

- analyses the contribution of design to innovation;

- broadens the concept of design from a policy perspective;

- concludes that design has untapped potential as driver of competitiveness and innovation as not all companies, sectors and member states make full use of design;

- suggests that design could be an integral part of european innovation policy.


(note: this is indeed one of the core importance documents released about design policies, which I suggest you to download from the link above)


notwithstanding all the development already reached, charlotte pointed as the main barriers identified to the better use of design:

- lack of awareness and understanding of the potential of design among policy makers

- lack of knowledge and tools to evaluate the rate of return on design investment

- lack of awareness and understanding among potential design customers, i.e. private and public organizations


at the closing of the presentation, were indicated some possible next steps:


- the launch of an initiative as part of the new european innovation policy?

- a platform / community / initiative to develop priorities and joint actions?

- improve evidence base on design, e.g. with oecd (organization for economic co-operation and development)?

- addressing innovation skills, including design?

- mainstreaming design into other policy areas?

- label for "responsible design"?

- innovation labs?


a new plan should be released in the next months (spring 2010), and its release should be looked after at the innovation unlimited blog or at the enterprise and industry website.

commenting on her presentation (which was, by the way, applauded by the audience in recognition of the work being done in favour of design at the european commission), ian starvik, president of beda (the bureau of european design associations) pointed that the difficult question of assessment for design policies has already been addressed in two design effectiveness awards issued by denmark and the united kingdom (the later promoted by dba, design business association), and soon there will be indicators that could help validate these initiatives.




this was indeed a great closing speech, one bringing hope with the ways design is beginning to be considered by governments or by ultra-governmental organisms. after that, jean schneider and anne marie boutin addressed to the audience just to close the works of the conference, and hoping to meet everyone again next year in paris.

design: by all? - day 2, first part

this is the third of four parts with my notes on the event about design promotion and design policies in the european union, organized by apci under the competent coordination of jean schneider on 11 and 12 january 2010. see the first two parts on my previous posts.



the second day - morning:


yves robin, from the french ministry of the economy, industry and employment, at the opening address of the the second day stressed the highest importance of design as an innovation tool quoting the recent document issued by the european union – design as a driver of user-centered innovation – as well as the actions taken by the french government to promote design awareness, specially aiming at smes, as well as the fostering of quality training and research on the field in universities at all levels, from basic to postgraduate and continuing education.

the initial statement was followed by an industry cases panel, chaired by darragh murphy, from pdr, the national centre for product design & development research at the university of wales, cardiff.



the three speakers – from large companies based respectively in france, united states and germany - talked about innovation in industry in times of crisis. the first was thomas bertin-mourot, managing director of quantum glass, a division of saint-gobin, one of the most traditional (and old) glass industries in the world. his division is developing products that challenge the glass industry and find new or renewed uses for glass allied or incorporating lighting and other technologies – with surprising results (check their website).

his presentation was followed by patrick mcgowan, art director from ibm lotus software user experience design, who talked about his process of work and his beliefs – as that “designers can establish intrinsic business values by de-mystifying and actively sharing process with non-designers.” and also that “it is through the lens of design thinking that value and quality are added to projects.” as everyone did during the conference, he advocated the importance of the co-design process within the industry as well, to create stronger design awareness.

robert sachon, head of brand design at bosch-siemens group, was the last of the representatives from industry to talk, emphasizing that good brands perform even on bad times. he quoted a phrase from robert bosch, founder of the company – “i would rather loose money than the trust of my customers” – to highlight the compromise of the company with its principles of integrity in all company actions, product quality and socially responsible behaviour. robert also presented some aspects of the global design philosophy of the company, and numbers to support the performance of the company that kept on the top of the market even during the world crisis.

darragh murphy, the chair of the panel, followed talking also about industry performance in times of crisis. he took examples from the design management europe award, comparing the performance of companies that won the award in 2008 poiting that despite the crisis most of the companies showed positive results in 2009, and that the decisions on design strategy were not necessarily tied to their turnover, showing companies that, nonetheless their descent turnovers, kept investing the same in design and others that, even doesn’t showing any growth in 2009, raised the investments in design. his conclusions: “where design is a supportive activity, companies invest in design according to their performance”, and “where design is a core activity, companies invest heavily in design to overcome poor performance”.



the second day - afternoon:




the session in the afternoon of the second day was chaired by jean schneider, and had begun with the presentation from the representative of the 27th region, stéphane vincent, about territories in residences: design and the co-conception of public policies. the name 27th region is a word game with the french geo-political division in 26 regions, and is a project to “hack” design inside policy planning, according to stéphane. the ngo will launch next april a book entitled design des politiques publiques, about the design of public policies (and not of public design policies), and how to cope with new social demands and empowerment of citizens and communities to make their voice heard. their project territories en residences brings a team of specialists to live in a region / community during 3 months, working with locals to find new ways to deal with their demands.

next speaker was pelle ehn, professor from the university of malmö, sweden, with “design things – social innovation, design thinking and living labs”. he explained the audience the meaning of the word "thing” in germanic societies as a governing assembly. in his view, designers should deal less with objects, shifting from the first class of “things: objects” to that second class of “things: governance”. professor ehn made the audience go through the design thinking from the 70’s of design-by-doing or design-by-planning towards what it should be, according to him, the design after design – the infrastructuring of things, where we should design for future and unforeseen users and uses.

sara de boer, from t+huis, an organization that uses design thinking to solve community problems in eidhoven, holland, had shown a project together with caren weisleder, from the köln international school of design, kisd. this project deals with street prostitution trying to get some innovative insights to help the local authorities solve a problem of relocation, among others. the curious fact about this project is that many ngos have tried to work this out without being really successful, and then the local government decided to give it a last try with design thinking, inviting kisd and design academy eindhoven, with the mediation of t+huis.

(since the website of t+huis was not working properly, here are the links for the project at the design for service blog as well as a video of citytv.nl from a presentation of the on the road kisd project to the eindhoven council)

Thursday, 14 January 2010

design: by all? - day 1, afternoon

this is the second part of my notes about the event about design promotion and design policies in the european union, organized by apci under the competent coordination of jean schneider on 11 and 12 january 2010. see the first part on my previous post.




territorial living lab, sicily:

tll sicily, a regional partnership for territorial innovation, was the theme of the first presentation of the afternoon, presented by jesse marsh, from the atelier studio associatio, italy. his talk begun showing the contrast of the last decades fiascos of the big telecom industries (like video on demand in the 80’s; wap in the 90’s; umts in the 00’s) with the later socially driven achievements in blogs, social networks, wikipedia, facebook.

using this new kind of technological platform, with fast prototyping methods, pervasive infrastructure and social networks, you can more easily get people involved in planning. but just getting people together is not enough – you got to have structured models assigning each one’s role on the process: who are the actors, what are the roles (and rules) to be played, where to get the funding (which might not necessarily be financial). in this sense a living lab is a multi-stakeholder partnership, involving available ict r&d (from universities, multinationals, smes) together with society (represented by associations, ngos, citizen groups) and local or regional authorities.

according to the speaker, tll sicily uses a virtuous partnership model, where actors are entitled to propose projects which will involve the others, generating a snowball effect (or a virtuous cycle). in this sense it is bringing territorial capital together, as much as in the dott cornwall programme presented earlier, where a blank page is being filed by each citizen.

then, if you are not going to tell people what they need, you have to provide them with proper tools to express and be heard.

today's innovation thinking is moving from building infrastructures to building networks. and also from sectorial policies to territorial policies, requiring new instruments to accomplish these tasks. regions have the responsibility to be creative and provide a demand-driven innovation policy. the european union has the role of providing legitimacy to design profession, and the new emerging role for designers is that of working at the level of policy planning.

(i have posted below an interesting set of four slides taken from the presentation with thoughts about a new role for regions, regional innovation policies, trends in innovation thinking and finally, a new role for design in this context. - click on the image to view it enlarged in another tab or window.)




the cudillero living lab – a fisherman’s experience

next speaker of the afternoon was salvador marques, head of the fishermen union from cudillero, spain. it was one inspiring example from someone that embraces the practical aspects of it as a doer, not a designer or a thinker. salvador is one of those community leaders that everyone described as fundamental partners to make it happen. he and his fellow fishermen from cudillero living lab share a spirit of environmental conservationism, knowing the importance of keeping their business in a scale of traditional fishing. his village has 100 square kilometres and less than 6 thousand inhabitants, and fishing represents 26% of local economy. it is a beautiful region, and the village is always facing the sea, as salvador commented showing the picture of the port square in the format of a horseshoe.

with their 60 boats and 950 fishermen they sold one million euros at fish auctions in 2008. but threatened with the changes in the world economy, they decided to invest in the quality and optimization of their production. their fish goes from the fish lines to the market in less than 24 hours. to distinguish themselves from others who freeze the fish on their boats, they have hired a consultancy to develop a system which combines gps monitoring system and a rigorous automatic control of the boats getting out and back in the port. the buyer receives by mobile messaging system information about the catches before the boat arrives at the port.

to communicate it, they developed a brand strategy focused on the quality and a geographical label, assuring the origin of the merlus they fish. this quality and territory label granted them a better price in the market.

gisele raulik, chairing the table, emphasized that in the way this project was planned and managed it has assured added value without interfering with the traditional craft of fishing, and it should be a lesson to designers dealing with other raditional sectors.


community engagement at newcastle:

philip joyce was the next speaker, talking briefly about the experience of the city of newcastle, that with the leadership of the city council, brought together several local actors – public and civilian – to build strong, active and inclusive communities.

bringing in a different vision of communities, he defined it either by geography, identity or interests. he also talked about the differences between engaging the community and empowering it. according to him, engaging doesn’t mean to have them heard.




city move - how to design the moving of a city?

gellivare, sweden: the local iron mining industry is expanding and the city ground is crumbling under the present buildings… the challenge: is it possible to move an entire society? well, this should be the chance to get a new start!

claess frössén, head of creative industry relations svid, the swedish industrial design foundation, spoke about this moving (in many senses) project, with many different implications. when svid was approached with this challenge, they thought it might be a good subject for an icsid interdesign workshop. these workshops are aimed to solve local problems aiding to develop solutions or methodologies that might be later applied somewhere else in the world.

the city move multidisciplinary workshop was then held in gellivare, from 22 march to 3 april of 2009, bringing designers and other specialists from the whole world to discuss the issue with the local community. there were 200 applications to participate in the workshop, and 38 were choosen, coming from 17 countries, and counting with two full-time process leaders and a small local support team. they got a budget around 700 thousand euros for the project, and established a knowledge centre on how to move a community. they questioned traditional methods of moving that were already being applied, like moving whole houses – there is no sense in moving an old wooden house to a new location!

as a result from the workshop, there were four cornerstone with strategies for the organization, communication, attraction and planned environment.



this is a great case study where design and design methods were applied to change the concept of relocating a community, and shows that design thinking can be used in any scale. other conclusions were that the user need to be involved in the process, not only focused in it, and that complex problems needs a complex mix of competences – cities need designers and brand managers, not only architects.

undoubtedly there are many places around the world that could learn a lot from this experience, and I think specially in my own city, rio de janeiro, with the frequent problems it faces, either with the tragedies of land sliding or the challenges of moving the communities living in the favelas to better and safer places.




closing the first day:

gisele raulik, from design wales, hosted the closing debate of the first day, with an insightful view of how the traditional, government-led approach of policy making is giving way to grassroots initiatives, user-centered and community level programmes.



nabeel hamdi remembered that we left behind not the great projects we’ve done, but the path to other great projects to come.

andrea siodmok endorsed this idea, saying that at dott they always talk about next practice rather than best practice – the later being a vision of the past, while the next practice, well, it’s the next thing to do!

she also pointed that the unique thing that design brings is to connect things from concept to results, and with design the ink is never dry – you’re always up to do new things, to view it in a different way. and that design is a great methodology when times are changing.

michael thomson, former president of beda (the bureau of european design associations), commented that design thinking should be brought into education in the same way that mathematic is taught, enabling young people to develop creative thinking for life.