PhD content in brief

Internationalization of design research and education centers.
Promotion of international design networks
Valentina Auricchio

Today, small enterprises and artisans are facing a difficult moment in which they are not able to understand how to survive in a evermore competitive and global market. They no longer have contact with final users, which often live in other territories and belong to different cultures, and do not have the tools to connect and innovate at an international level.
Since the early 70’s, designers around the world have been working in this arena with the aim to help artisans reach new markets and learn how to develop autonomous innovative processes. Through transfer of knowledge and support in creating networks, designers have shown unique capabilities that can support internationalization processes of territories worldwide by:
_identifying new markets and interpreting cultures (EXPORT);
_identifying new technologies (CO-PRODUCTION);
_identifying new cultural context (CO-DESIGN).

In this scenario, design research and education institutions have had a fundamental role in engaging new research paths and developing education programs in the fields of design management and strategic design in order to support international competitiveness. The strive for internationalization has pushed design institutions to enlarge their networks, connect with territories and give students and staff the opportunity to widen their view. By doing so, they have become strategic entities for the internationalization of their countries.
In the knowledge based society, education and research institutions have become important actors in supporting the international competitiveness of their territories by developing innovative researches and forming new professional profiles.
Therefore, design research and education institutions have become gateways for companies interested in connecting and competing internationally.

The main aim of the research is to identify projects in which design institutions have supported the internationalization of productive territories in order to stimulate an international debate in this area.
The area of reference of the research is Social Design and it historically refers to those projects in which designers have had an important role in connecting the periphery with the center. Victor Papanek, Gui Bonsiepe and Victor Margolin have been the main design theorist in this area.
The research developed has aimed to collect projects that have been carried out in the past ten years in this field. Projects that have been developed by design centers, institutions, individual designers that demonstrate that design can have a strategic role in social and economical development. These projects are mainly lead by the desire to help artisans and small producers to reach new markets and to build connections with partners worldwide.
The research has been lead through on field research and interviews of actors involved in the debate and in the projects detected. The projects collected have been saved in an “online platform” (blog of the research www.innovstrategy.blogspot.com) which has been the a first interface with the research community.
Fifteen projects selected out of the many projects collected in the blog have been briefly explained through graphs and maps which give a general understanding of the state of the art in this field.

The analysis of the project has been done at different levels:
_geographical map of territories and actors involved;
_chronological map of the projects;
_role of the design actors in the projects;
_results respect to the internationalization of the territories involved;
_aims and objectives of the projects;
_project phases.

The final analysis of the projects aims to give a future view on the trajectories taken by the actors involved, the lessons learnt and the suggestions on how to take forward a debate in this field in order to develop new research and form professionals.
Today, there is a large amount of design centers, institutions and professionals who believe that design can have a strategic role in helping artisans and small companies in building global value chains. This belief has been demonstrated through real projects that show that designers are capable, not only in developing new products and services, but also in building global value chains that allow artisans to access new markets. Through these projects, designers transfer innovation capabilities to communities, enabling them to connect with partners worldwide.
However, this field is still not recognized as a research field in design and there are very few courses which aim to form professionals capable to replicate successful experiences in other contexts. This is also due to the fact that, up to today, design tools applied have not yet been codified.
Although the methods and tools identified in the projects still require confrontation and verification in other contexts, the catalogue of projects collected throughout the research is the first of its kind and the hope is for it to be a starting point for an international debate on design methods and tools applicable in this research area.

CASE STUDIES

The following list of posts are a collection of interesting articles which have been collected during the PhD research. Some of them are Design Centers, others are projects, others are links to websites.
Of these posts, 15 case studies have been picked out to be analysed in depth.

TO ADD PROJECTS OR LINKS PLEASE WRITE TO:
valentina.auricchio[at]polimi.it

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

OUMA

Ouma Productions s'inspire de la rue indienne.
Le 'charpoy', qui signifie littéralement '4 pieds' est un lit fabriqué à partir d'un cadre de bois sur lequel sont tendues des cordes ou sangles tressées, c'est une pièce essentielle du mobilier indien. On y dort mais aussi on y médite, on y mange, on vit dessus seul ou à 3 ou 4, on le traîne dedans ou dehors et grâce à son tressage ajouré l'air circule entre les cordes ce qui en fait un lit climatisé pour l'été. 
On le trouve dans l'histoire de chaque Indien.

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