MULTI-VERSE DESIGN: WHICH TENSIONS FOR THE FUTURE?
In Logotel’s ninth Digital Landscape we saw how design helps us shape tomorrow
The discipline of design is constantly evolving owing to phenomena which are increasingly contained and have global impact. In Logotel’s Ninth Digital Landscape we decided to enter into conversation with Francesco Zurlo, professor and representative of Milan Politecnico’s School of Design as well as over 80 connected collaborators - all to identify those aspects currently fuelling the debate on the practice of design and, as designers, on our area of future action. The appointment gave breath to nextworking, which isn’t merely about managing the present but also about shaping Tomorrow.
Which tensions characterize the evolution of design practice, also in light of the period we’re experiencing?
Let's start from base. We can no longer speak of a single discipline. We now introduce the concept of anti-discipline, by which borders are not defined anymore - the project-based approach starting from identification of a problem around which skills and different experiences are jointly aggregated, thereby building bridges between disciplines that then integrate everything to manage complexity. Here, instead, Design is a facilitator at the service of complexity.
Regarding methods and tools to be deployed, Design must always, by its nature, be a practical discipline which not only acquires and transfers knowledge, but experiments with it too. We see this still more at this particular historical period when doing and experimenting become vehicles towards new design, together with collaborative digital co-design tools, new skills to train as well as mindsets to accompany. Furthermore, the relationship between the past and the future remains important. We can’t forego anticipating history and experience but we must also work on intuiting the future - two fundamental ingredients in understanding what has been and what is yet to be.
Which skills to train. Speaking of skills today, we must work on a balance of knowledge exploration (exploration of possibilities, new project aims, fresh tools and methods) by which the designer will have an increasingly systemic vision and need to acquire vertical/horizontal skills to manage this complexity -even within a local and global dimension- with the right facets.
What knowledge makes the difference. Digitization that’s increasingly contained, sustainability issues, context - each contributes to changing values and behaviors. And the way we build knowledge changes too. Today knowledge is everywhere, we might say at our fingertips. The real value comes with building the compass for knowledge that’s capable of reading and orienting our knowledge. We’ll need more coaches today who are able to lead, both with the right questions and with critical thinking.
Finally, what role. It is likely that design will increasingly operate by an enabling rule logic. It’s becoming an enabler for communities. A role that seeks to give order and forge an overall direction that lends meaning to the solutions and services to be implemented.