Understanding the Context of Design for Social Innovations: A Methodological Case Study

Understanding the Context of Design for Social Innovations: A Methodological Case Study

Juan Carlos Ortiz Nicolás (Autonomous University of Ciudad Juárez, Mexico) and Thomas Harrison (Imperial College London, UK)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 24
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5234-5.ch017

Abstract

The chapter describes the applicability of designers to the space of finding solutions to social issues through the generation of social innovations. Based on a literature review, it was evident that design requires new methods to apply to the resolution of social issues, and as such, this chapter presents a new method that supports designers in the development of solutions within the design for social innovation (DfSI) framework. The proposed method consists of six stages: (1) identifying the challenge, (2) analyzing the system in which the challenge co-exists, (3) understanding the system using user-centered design techniques, (4) defining the design brief, (5) generating proposals, and (6) evaluating and concluding. The chapter also introduces a design case study that describes in detail the implementation of the design method. The results indicated that the method supports designers to structure their process when aiming to design for social innovation and in particular to define the potential solution, which is reflected in a design brief.
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Background

This section demands conceptual and contextual clarity, especially in the definitions and characteristics of much researched Economic Innovation and its comparable peer, Social Innovation. The understanding of their differences will be achieved through a cross-comparison of the two concepts, starting with the more familiar Economic Innovation.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Fuzzy Front End (FFE) of Innovation: Work that is performed before the organization has begun to take the idea seriously; this is both in terms of resources and management attention.

Design for Social Innovation: Design approach that aims to enhance the common good.

Design Brief: A document that provides a direction and scope to the task being completed; ranging from “open and ambiguous” to “closed and specific”.

Wicked Problem: A multifactorial challenge where it is difficult to define its cause, and commonly experienced as design problems.

Social Innovation: Type of innovation that aims to enhance the common good.

Ecology Model: Scalable theory of the context that deconstruct it on four systems: micro-, exo-, meso-, and macrosystem.

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