120 participants came to the international conference "Design Research: Strategy Setting to Face the Future" held in Bozen on 27 and 28 June 2007. Design theoretician Hans Höger and graphic arts designer Antonino Benincasa, both from the Faculty of Design and Art at the Free University of Bozen - Bolzano, had organised the event.
Ten speakers from different professions presented their assessments and forecasts on the following agreed central topics:
- Which questions are going to become more and more relevant and meaningful for designer activity in the context of economy, culture and society in the coming years?
- Which research approaches, working methods and attitudes of mind are necessary in order to deal with these topics in an adequate and promising way?
The sociologist, Simone Bertolini, of the research and consultancy agency A.A.STER (Milan), illustrated on the morning of the first day the characteristics of the "Economics of Creativity" that at this point describe a common denominator among the different current free enterprise systems. In this connection, among other things, the tendency is interesting that consumers themselves are becoming ever more strongly identified creatively and actively by their decisions and behaviour on influencing the value added processes of the markets (including the phenomenon of turning traditional products into services).
Stefano Mirti of the NABA (Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti), Milan underlined in his lecture the recent meaning coming from independent design projects that - especially due to new communication technology - in recent years has reached a wide public in a short time and has contributed to augmenting approaches to topics and work in several areas of design creation, as well as discussing it publicly.
The founder and manager of the Center of Knowledge Societies in Bangalore, Aditya Dev Sood, analysed the radical changes taking place in areas of the economy, culture and society in large parts of the non-western world. Referring to India, he used concrete examples to illustrate how this country has succeeded in developing innovative services in recent years and also succeeded in offering them to world markets.
The economist, Gianfranco Dioguardi, explained the importance of the "knowledge worker", a profession that has recently come to the fore; while his colleague, Stefano Baia Curioni, of the business school Bocconi of Milan referred to the necessity to develop new qualities of reference and interaction between design culture and the outside world in view of the just as quick and farreaching changes in industry and society.
Georg-Christof Bertsch, a consultant from Frankfurt used the publication "The organization and architecture of innovation" (Allen/Henn, Oxford 2006) published in 2006 as his starting point to discuss forms of work and process organisation, such as Networking and Community Building. In particular, the issue of social experience and re-processing of economic and technological innovations constitutes, in his view, one of the central challenges of our time.
Ruedi Baur, who runs an office in Paris for integral communications concepts and manages the research institute, Design2context, in Zurich opened the second day of the congress. Referring to the French philosopher, Bernard Stiegler, Baur underlined the meaning of work in a balanced relationship between local reality and the global context. A central element for this is the question what kind of topics will be defined, worked on and introduced into the public decisionmaking processes by inter-disciplinary project groups. Science and research, according to Baur, do not make a neutral setting for creative work, but also subscribe to a position in terms of further development of private and political life inside a community.
Gianni Sinni, a designer with his own office in Florence and editor of the on-line publication, SocialDesignZine, presented a series of concrete examples for design creation at the interface between research and social responsibility. The artist, Francesco Jodice, picked up Sinni's argument and discussed how, since the mid-1990s, numerous phenomena of the interdisciplinary relationship between contemporary art and a series of fields of work have emerged, for example in anthropology, town planning, sociology, philosophy and design, and have made an issue of the study of changes in everyday life in today's market-based societies.
The Faculty of Design and Art at the Free University of Bozen - Bolzano is proposing to publish "Design Research: Strategy Setting to Face the Future" at the beginning of the coming year.