Social Innovation

To begin my discussion i’ve included a few “innovation” research links. The first is  a widely popular book on the subject by Robert Verganti, and with a name like Design-Driven Innovation you can be at no loss as to what the book pertains to be about. I have only read bits and pieces so far, but it has come highly recommended and I can’t wait to get into it. Another thesis paper i’ve been looking at is by Max Synder from Carnegie Mellon. Entitled Creativity+Participation; 3 frameworks for innovation, it can also be accessed via the link: 

Secondly I have found the DESIS network to be an invaluable resource with a vast array of inspiring social projects. 3 particularly innovative schemes include:

Searching for Marginalized Wisdom, A project about “visualizing and rebuilding the creative community”

Wall: Digital Hands, Incorporating digital technology and waste water into traditional textile manufacture.

Design for Empathy, Designing products and interventions that promote conflict resolution amongst groups in wider society.

At their core, all these projects illustrate how strong unique design thinking can be executed in a real world context. However “Design for Empathy” particularly goes beyond the notion of just designing with the values of someone else in mind. Instead it aims to develop a product experience that will elicit a particular empathetic response from its user, by no means an easy task.  Emphasis on such approaches need to be more largely acknowledged and applied, especially in a design community where empty rhetoric and many, well intentioned but hallow approaches, remain at large

Lastly, I would also like to mention, LeNS, the learning network on sustainability. ( The local oceania branch includes many progressive student projects including RMIT’s Social Studio. The thinking behind this particular project was to create a retail shop system, for a local NGO, without fixed addresses. Innovative thinking saw the students design the system and artefacts around a portable business enterprise. A video with a more detailed explaination of the project can be found via the 2 links: &


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