This panel session offers four papers from authors working across sectors, sites, disciplines, and frameworks. Expressed in the conference theme Design as Common Good, authors present interpretations of this assertion through research, pedagogy, and practice exemplars that interrogate the questions of what is common, what is good, and how is design responding. The panel informs audiences of shared ideologies and as well of differences in approach which feature opportunities for understanding the deeper nature of the conference topic. In this way, session panelists highlight topical pillars that serve to unify perspective while celebrating respective difference. Through a discussion of design methods, how facilitation is performed, and the role of artifacts, authors participate with audience in an exchange of knowledge that seeks to enrich the conference and broader subject discourse.
Our paper describes a research project aimed at understanding how social and community services can be redesigned in order to include people in transition, which are now excluded or, at least, not addressed by the way the welfare system and social and community services have been “silently” designed. The inter- and trans-disciplinary research project, developed in collaborations with local NGOs and the Municipality of Bozen-Bolzano, was supposed to elaborate service concepts proposals to be taken into consideration by the local administration. Here, we present the eleven service concepts and the research trajectory that lead us to them. As we will show change and transition, from being the focus of our research, have become, along the unfolding of the research, the framework, through which to look at social and community services. Such shift has meant proposing a more general “paradigm shift” through which to look and design social and community services.
*Common* good as postulated for the field of public interest design (PID) is social, economic, and environmental well-being for all people. When design is situated as a response to the pursuit of this common good, it has the potential to produce a confluence among diverse interests. From this perspective, communities who shape collective goals while accepting differences thus have the capacity to enact beneficial outcomes with design as the vehicle. An implicit collaboration in the achievement of good, that is mutually and collectively generated and distributed, can result. This article outlines a precedent for the achievement of common good design outcomes through the mission, principles, and methods of the Social Economic Environmental Design (SEED) Network, an affiliation of designers who operate through the framework of PID. Through the SEED process, design can advance such fundamental human values as equity and justice while sustaining the distinct interests of stakeholders, forming a community through design that constitutes a greater good.
Designers and researchers rely on methods and metaphors (for example service “ecologies” or “blueprints,” etc.) that enable and constrain ideas of the common good, whilst the concept of “user experience” may subtly close off other kinds of experiences not anticipated by the designer. However, interdisciplinary collaboration in design and social innovation acknowledges contextual complexity and agency. Interdisciplinary “border work” is a powerful concept in education. We explore such border work at the intersection of social sciences and design curricula and communities in the United States and in Greece. We will present extensions to these methods from a graduate research group one of us is leading in the Department of Graphic Design, North Carolina State University, and as an ongoing engagement with students, researchers, designers and stakeholders/communities in Greece. We see these methods as a kind of continuing “interaction design problem” that can foster reflexivity, using affordance, schema and local interpretation.
The landscape of design practice and research is continually and rapidly expanding, mostly due to increasingly complex, open, and networked problems, but also due to new possibilities made available by technology and new ways of combining existing resources. Design methods and tools can expand social innovation by promoting creative and innovation processes with communities. Acting at a local level and prototyping micro experimental projects aiming for replication in other contexts, a systemic transformation becomes more feasible. Design for social innovation is a practice capable of reframing problematic situations, summoning participation, facilitating communication between stakeholders, tooling up participants, and promoting synergies between experts of various areas. This article explores how communication design, as a broad, holistic, and generative practice, can offer solutions for a community affected by population decline in a Portuguese inland territory.