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DESIS Network (Design for Social Innovation and Sustainability)

Publication date: 2014
Keywords: Design, ICT-revolution, Open Source

DESIS (Design for Social Innovation and Sustainability) is a network of design labs, based in design schools and design-oriented universities, actively involved in promoting and supporting sustainable change. Now, it gathers more than 40 labs all over the world. The case on the DESIS network is also a university based network, with labs focusing on projects in sustainable design among others. 

The higher ambition of DESIS Network is to generate an Open Design Program able to give different projects visibility, to facilitate their alignments, collaborations and synergies and, on these bases, to develop these visions and projects. It means to produce knowledge with the contribution of different partners (open processes) and that can be used by all stakeholders (open results). If a worldwide movement towards sustainability calls for the best possible use of all existing resources, DESIS finds in the design schools its major resource. DESIS Labs are made up of teams of professors, researchers and students based in design-oriented universities.

Relevance for TRANSIT

DESIS Network’s main aim is to use design to trigger, enable and scale-up social innovation.  That is: to enhance its potential; to raise its visibility; to facilitate its transferability; to increase its synergy; and to stimulate new initiatives.  With local, regional and global partners, it wants to co-create socially relevant scenarios, solutions and communication programs related to social innovation that are adequate to the great challenges of contemporary society.  


Social Innovation Initiatives in the Critical Turning Points-database 

DESIS - DESIS Lab Belo Horizonte

DESIS - ID+ DESIS Lab, Aveiro


Social Innovation Initiatives studied in-depth

DESIS - DESIS Lab Florianópolis




Cipolla, C.; Afonso, R. and Joly, M. P. (2015) Transformative social innovation narrative of the DESIS Network. TRANSIT: EU SHH.2013.3.2.1-1 Grant agreement no: 613169


Research Coordination: UFRJ – Carla Cipolla

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