Social innovation via open-source design?

What could be the role of Design in a future model based on Social innovation generated by a diffused creative processes? How will it affect social change?

I just need opinions! for an assignment :slight_smile:

What are your thoughts so far? Have you defined what those terms mean in the case of the POV you are constructing?

I’m thinking in a model where everyone can contribute to the development of a concept where you don’t necessarily have to be an expert because everyone can help with what they are good at to meet certain social needs. its main goal must be to fulfill necessities and make an good impact on society. it has to be sustainable.

You can talk to the people at Quirky or OpenIDEO. Both good examples of social design. In terms of affecting social change, I think OpenIDEO does a little more of that, but I haven’t heard of actual results being produced… more of just generating thought/conversation around topics. There always needs to be someone familiar with design to lead the conversation, though.

That is exactly the thing, when you strip away all the buzz words and hashtags, a lot of these kinds of things tend to not have results… But I can go find hundreds of grass roots community organizations that actually DO the things others TALK about, without the hype of open source, and they don’t seem to feel the need to call themselves designers.

I’m not really sure what “social innovation” means, either. Examples? What were the traditional methods? Going outside with clipboards and talking to people? Spam snail mail? Protests/rallies?

Julius, Those are still all examples of talk, not action. Not results.

Architecture for Humanity and Habitat for Humanity are great examples of groups that actually do things. Small Bean is another.

Okay, got it. I didn’t really view those as “social innovation”, but as community service and volunteering (which does way more than any of the examples I cited earlier).

So what is social innovation then? What is it good for? Other than selling books? That sounds snarkier than I mean.

Over here in Korea we are working off of the premise of an eventual North and South reunification, and how it will impact society and the region when the final phase is deployed. Design is being used to plan future economic cooperation, education, manufacturing, health-care, labour exchange etc. The political negotiations are intense and colorful, but progress is made each year.

Oddly enough, things like the North hacking into the largest banking system in the South, although a cause for a headache temporarily, can been seen as a learning moment between the two nations that share the same traditions and language but a vastly different cultures. This will lead to better understanding in the future.

Design is at the forefront of this inevitability…

Well I think that It is exactly the point. What is actually the role of design in social innovation. For example, in this case how …

? Because then it becomes hard for me to see a difference between plan and design. How does design lead a social change of this magnitude?

moving from the US to UK, I feel like there is a more noticeable national push for better social systems, including their calling on the design community to do it - maybe it’s just more apparent for some reason than in the US. I think it might be considered an effect of a national design policy.

Anyway, what I’ve seen in here is the government/design council calling on the design community to come up with solutions for national issues, and putting up the money to back it. Just off the top of my head, friends have been granted money in Bristol to use design and design research to promote more bicycle use. There has been a call out to consultancies to develop safer glass pint glasses to curb violence in bars - people often get ‘glassed’ apparently here. Another local friend was granted money to look at modernizing libraries through service design, and he had a community event to pull in ideas. There’s also been a growing push to prepare for the explosion of the elderly population in the coming years too.

I guess it could be considered open source because of the public funding, but I’m not sure where you’d find the outcomes… maybe the design council website?

In my opinion, it’s a good move for a country to do this. It gives young designers funding to take a stab at social problems, and possibly implement them. Just like in France where there is more national money for the arts (like film), in the UK they are looking to their own resources to improve their social systems.

PS not to talk up the UK too much, there are plenty of social issues here - its just that you also notice some of the creative and useful innovations too like the London Oyster card.

With discussions like this, I find there is a blurriness around what is meant by “social.” It can either mean the design process included direct input from the community, like Quirky, or it can mean the goal of the design was to benefit society, or both (but it doesn’t have to be both). I feel like we easily slide from one use to the other, which can get confusing, especially when things are poorly defined buzzwords anyway (I don’t mean that at all in a derogatory way towards what I believe is the heart of these things).

The concept of Social Innovation still seems to be a little unclear when it comes to what should or should not be considered social Innovation. Sometimes the innovation is not only found on the final idea but also in the process; but does it really matter? Normally when we say social innovation we think of the results, in how the final ideas help or affect people, and what outcomes are gotten. However, a social innovation can also be found in the way we get to that result, in how people get involved and interact to face a certain challenge. A clear example of this is the use of open source platforms lets people contribute to reach a common result, sometimes proven better than a centralized process. We see that people develop ideas because they want to do it and not because they are told or paid to do so; thus, they do it well. For instances, in the last years the impact and effectiveness of “Social Innovation Camps,” which intend to give answers to social difficulties in a short period of time by the contribution of many different people, has been well known and spread through the media. Besides, the sprouting of projects that involve open-source influence to develop new ideas has also increases very rapidly (specially in the field of design). Unfortunately, these platforms have not been so widespread in many other fields because still many tasks are only given to “experts”. In addition, this platforms have a big potential to create social change if used correctly; if people are organized to think, analyze and solve common problems, it becomes social for social. It becomes a social innovation that intends to create social innovation, or as how I see it, becomes a double social innovation.