Design in a P2P World (2): Ezio Manzini on the new skillset of servant designers

Ezio Manzini knows that:

“designers have to operate in a society in which, as contemporary sociology points out, “everybody designs”. In other words, they have to consider themselves part of a complex mesh of designing networks: the emerging, interwoven networks of individual people, enterprises, non-profit organizations, local and global institutions that are using their creativity and entrepreneurship to solve problems, to open new possibilities and, sometimes, to take some concrete steps towards sustainability…”

In a draft paper, he specifies two new roles for designers:

Design in/for designing networks. The new role of designers appears in two main modalities (that, in the reality, often blur).

1) Design in the designing networks: to participate peer-to-peer with the other involved actors, in the generation of more efficient and accessible promising initiatives. In this modality designers have to consider themselves as social actors endowed with specific design knowledge and skills to facilitate the convergence of different actors towards shared ideas and potential solutions. That is, to promote and enhance specific co-design processes.

2) Design for the designing networks: to collaborate with other involved actors in conceiving and developing enabling systems. That is, systems of products, services and knowledge the role of which is not to get a final result, but to create the best conditions to stimulate, develop and regenerate the ability and competence of those who will use it . And, in particular, to empower their capability to collaboratively conceive, develop and manage new and sustainable ways of being and doing.

3) Enabling systems and metadesign. The design of enabling systems can be seen as an up-dated form of metadesign. In fact, at least in Italy, the traditional metadesign definition is: “metadesign is the design of a set tools, methodologies and ways of doing capable to support designers in a variety of design processes”. An up-dated definition could be the same, but with a different meaning of the word “designers”. In the new definition, in fact, the designers who have to be empowered are not only the professional ones, but all the participants to the extended designing network.

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