Program 21st-23rd of September, 2016
“Social design scheme. The International and Lithuanian experience”.
1 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Social design laboratory.
Activities in the context - meetings, visits to various institutions, interviews, collecting of photo/video material,
10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Social design laboratory.
Activities in the context - analysis of Day 2 data, practical work in the multidisciplinary groups, creation of social design projects’ schemes in Lithuania, presentations of results, discussion,
9 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Registration is open till 1st of September.
Social design is a practice that enables us to reframe our understanding of the big unresolved challenges society faces, and to build collaborative movements around new solutions. Ultimately, social design is about reinvigorating democracy through collective imagination: it offers a participatory process for people to build an ethical future and to address human needs that both the state and the market have failed to address.
I am a social designer. For the last 5 years, I have worked at Innovation Unit, a UK-based social enterprise that aims to transform public services through human-centered design. I have worked on a variety of projects ranging from children social care to obesity, and mental health to social isolation, for public and third sector clients, including charities, NHS trusts and local councils.
My practice explores the intersection of storytelling, empathy, and participation: through ethnography, which gives weight to the voices and stories of people who are traditionally excluded from decision-making; and through co-design which challenges power structures by bringing people who are experts of their everyday lives to the same table as people who make decisions about how public services should be delivered.
This event is a great opportunity to share practices and insights across countries, and to reflect on what social design has to offer to some challenges that are share across Europe.
Social design covers a wide spectrum of activities to improve society and alleviate social problems through ingenuity, collaboration and care. From social innovation initiatives, that mainly operate at the level of policy-making and organization building, to design activism, that interveens directly into specific sites and problematics, social design promotes an ethos of empowerment, sustainability and the participatory engagement of multiple stakeholders in the development of viable and resilient solutions.
As a design researcher I have primarily been working with social design through the approaches afforded by co-design and as part of a design research environment steeped in the Scandinavian tradition of participatory design. Most of my research activities have focussed on strengthening the well-being of socially vulnerable groups within public institutions, such as frail elderly in care homes and children of incarcerated parents.
The social design platform event serves an important purpose by broadening the awareness of social design in Lithuania, as well as, the exciting opportunity of sharing knowledge and experiences across different ways of practicing social design.
Social design is, next to many other ways, a way of building new coalitions between artists, designers, scientists, stakeholders and people with societal problems. Social design works through the process of trial and error, thinking through design, or design thinking. Social design imagines 'what can be’ in a constructive way, in collaboration with all parties involved, to find together new underlying themes and frames as new starting point (frame) for further design processes.
Artists and designers have a natural desire for a transformative (positive) impact on society. In this way they are social. However during their studies they have not been trained well in the field of social problems. For this reason i have set up the post academic program NoAcademy (with other people) We design special curriculums and programs for young BA and MA students, who are selected from all different Art and Design Academies in the Netherlands. The last program on radicalisation of young people in our society (Radical Reframing) is running at this very moment. NoAcademy - YesSociety!
Social design labs can be used for reframing social problems. At its best it is a new way of reconnecting design and art with the major social problems of our times and a way of creating new networks of social design labs around the world that will enable us to compare outcomes in different cultural contexts, it may eventually help us understand the problems better.
Designers and artists who are making an impact on social problems with their work. ‘Social Design’ carries meaning on three levels: 1 It is a testimony to the designer’s mentality, the fact that he or she wishes to work on social problems i.e. being engaged. 2 The design manifests itself in the social domain and focuses on a desired change in behaviour and building new relationships. 3 This type of designer uses social processes as a design method (Co-creation).
As a practitioner, researcher and lecturer (and currently as a subsidy-giver as well).
Enlarging this practice. Strengthen each other by exchanging knowledge and sharpening our repertoire.
Social design is a conjunction of human-centred design disciplines, such as service design, co-design, and design for behaviour change, sustainability and well-being. Social design aims to transform existing situations into desired ones in relation to social participation and societal well-being in general.
For me design is a social science. Being a product designer and researcher my focus is based on looking for creative solutions for everyday issues through building a profound empathy with people involved. For this reason I strongly believe in human-centred design as an empowering approach for problem solving. Currently I am developing a PhD research project where I am looking for more sustainable design solutions for product-service system, a concept which combines products with services for fulfilled customer satisfaction with less environmental and social impacts.
This event helps to raise awareness of social design, a field which is very little-known in Lithuania but has a great potential of making positive impact on a wide range of areas. This event brings together a number of experts from various countries and design-related backgrounds in order to share knowledge, methodologies and approaches for better social design implementation in the country which is highly creative and ready to accept innovative problem-solving solutions.
J.Z. Social design is a collaboration of various organizations which is orchestrated by social designer - a person whose designs address issues related to society. The value the social designer brings for this collabaration is - mainly - the possibility to produce alternative or new vision for the problem solution.
D.G. I think that it is really important to mention that the process and activities of such a collaboration or dialogue usually are of more artistic nature. The use of creative tools leads to better reframing of initial question and - later on - to more creative proposals or results. Perspectives of the stakeholders are translated and shaped into design proposals that are understandable, usable and clear.
J.Z. Very important issue in social design is to find a solution which would work with no help of designers. Sustainability as characteristic of the design is crucial cause ussually it requires time and effort in the society to achieve the desirable results.
D.G. I think that the challenges we face in society require to rethink the practices and aims we are pursuing. Social role of a designer has been discussed many times - where we should focus and use the creative potential is up to us to decide. So I think that our creative work should always be measured by the impact it brings to society.
D.G. In 2014 I have innitiated the student design festival "Design antennas" so that students and design professionals would research the regions of Lithuania and come up with the proposals of how the better quality of life could be achieved there.
J.Z. In 2010 - 2011 I did a research and a social design project as a participant of No Academy. The name of the project was ‘The Book of Unwritten Rules. Private space in public’. It is a method to help different groups of people to understand each other and to get in contact with the street youth. The year was subsidized by Netherlands Foundation for Visual Arts, Design and Architecture (Fonds BKVB). In 2011 together with three other participants of No academy we prepared a report “Design for/with/by Society” - a research about the phenomenon of social design for Premsela (The Netherlands Institute for Design and Fashion).
Dovilė and I have recently worked in social design project with Transparency International Lithuania. This project aimed at understanding the problem of small bribery at the medical sector in Lithuania and creating tools for impact on this issue.
D.G. Social as well as participatory or user-centered design are just starting their "life" in Lithuania. We need more "power" and knowledge. During this event we would like to show the potential of social design: how it works, what is the process, what could be the possible results of such collaboration, project cases from LIthuania and abroad.
J.Z. This event is an opportunity to share knowledge, develope new visions and unorthodox strategies for the problems which seem not to be solved in traditional ways. We create a space for organisations and designers to get to know each other better and to collaborate. “The future is a now team.”