The Innovation Design Lab: where design practice drives innovation in favour of entrepreneurship and sustainability
Founded in May 2015 within the Systemic Innovation Design Network of the Department of Architecture and Design of the Turin Polytechnic the lab is a hub dedicated to the comparison, study, research and design of innovation processes with particular attention to the territorial context and environmental sustainability.
The team consists of professors, researchers and students specialising in heterogeneous areas of the design fields who find inside the Lab an ideal place to promote innovative initiatives: from the educational to the experimental field, up to entrepreneurship.
Innovation Design Manifesto
The Innovation Design
Dynamism is what characterizes Innovation Design as a pluralistic force. It’s the concept of movement, strength and energy in response to a complex phenomenon. When the project is an informed and organized sequence of actions, dynamism assures the right flexibility, initiative and intensity to pursue the goal. All of the above is essential in an uncertain and variable context as the one of innovation. We know what the starting point is and we adapt the path that will lead us to the destination in a flexible and dynamic way. Then we try to tackle the issues found on the route in a proactive, resourceful and industrious way.
Innovation design acts as a common language and medium in gathering different knowledge fields towards finding innovative solutions. An innovative project’s complexity and goals require an interdisciplinary approach. Intertwining knowledge and skills, which come from different people’s passion and experience, interact with each other to activate a constant collaboration. Each figure contributes in a productive way to build a vision of the investigated phenomenon, thanks to his/her cultural baggage. We read each data through many different lenses to gain a complete vision and exploration of the context.
Innovation Design does not only act in response to people’s specific needs but has to reinterpret and amplify the relationship between what we develop and the context surrounding it. This is what we call sustainability. It doesn’t matter if “what we design” is a product, a process or service. Sustainability is in fact the key feature that makes it possible to create balance between the environmental, societal and economical dimension. As a result, sustainable innovation enhances the territory and the context, introducing such values as social equality, affordability and the systemic use of resources.
Innovation Design has a close relationship with the context in which it operates. Innovation Design has the task and the responsibility to recognize, enhance and valorize the potential and the resources of the territory. All cultural, economic and social resources are needed to turn problems into opportunities, to interpret the needs as an action potential.
The opportunity to collect, crosscheck, visualize and study quantitative and qualitative context data and their pattern plays a strategic role for the project success and implementation. In fact, the quantitative and qualitative analysis does not only concern the cultural, social and economic aspects, but also all the actors involved in the territory, such as people, companies, organizations or others entities. A datadriven methodology supplies the required tools to investigate, ideate and assess the real impact of a project. Through the data interpretation, we are able to read the development that take place in various fields, following a careful critical, iterative and evolutionary process.
Designing innovation means giving answers. These answers have to be: pragmatic, functional in regard of needs, effective and efficient. Effectiveness concerns the ability to reach the set goal, while efficiency considers the ability to do it using the minimum resources required. There is no innovation without a need or a requirement to satisfy. Discussion on and intersection with the real needs is a strategic key element that results in its success or failure, its form and function, its sustainability as well as the impacts on society and/or on the reference market.
Innovation Design is a design process that draws on individual or collective creative culture. As creative talents we have the task of incubating embryonic ideas, stimulating creative processes, generating and recombining ideas and resources, providing solutions to explicit or latent issues. All of this in an original way or form. In order for a solution to be considered creative, it has not only to break an existing rule, but it has to create a new and better rule.
Innovation Design is, first of all, culture and information. To innovate means to make ideas visible, to translate them into concrete facts through techniques and competences, to disseminate and make them accessible. Thus, Innovation Design becomes a tool to communicate the territory potentials, to convey new sustainability and integration messages to a wider audience. In this sense, innovation is not just about technological and economic aspects, but also, and above all, cultural and
social points of view.
Innovation Design it’s able to meet the change of new cultural, societal and economical paradigms. Therefore the focus shifts from “how do we do it?” to “why are we doing it?”. Innovation’s value is not just linked to an economic matter, it’s rather established by new factors related to social and environmental values and benefits, included in a vision which is less and less technocentric and more and more humancentric.
Innovation is a change that generates progress. It is a continuous process intended to enhance human beings’ standard of living, from the designing of relations that create qualitative value, to new organisational models and consequences on communities.
Innovation design works in a systemic way. Each created value is essential to introduce other values. Each linked value can’t exist without the others.
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