For more than two decades, Ezio Manzini has been working in the field of design for sustainability. Most recently, his interests have focused on social innovation—considered a major driver of sustainable changes. In this perspective, he started DESIS: an international network of schools of design specifically active in the field of design for social innovation and sustainability. Ezio is currently working at Desislab Elisava Barcelona leading the flag ship initiative “Design for City Making” within Desis Network.
Presently, Ezio Manzini is Distinguished Professor on Design for Social Innovation a ELISAVA Barcelona School of Design and Engineering, Barcelona, Spain; Honorary Professor at the Polytechnic University of Milan, Italy; and Guest Professor at Jiangnan University, Wuxi, China.
DESIS Network originates from three main international activities in the 2006-2008 period: the European research EMUDE, 2005; the UNEP Program CCSL, 2008 and the international conference “Changing the Change, within the framework of Torino World Design Capital, 2008.
In different ways, these activities introduced the notions of creative community and social innovation in several design schools worldwide and created favourable conditions to start an international network on these topics.
The main ideas behind it were that social innovation could be a powerful driver towards sustainability and that design schools could help in supporting and accelerating the process.
In 2009, this network took the name of DESIS: Design for Social Innovation towards Sustainability. In the 2009-2011 period, DESIS spread in several regions of the world, establishing partnerships with other entities and evolving towards a network of Design Labs based in design schools and in other design-oriented universities and operating with local, regional and global partners to promote and support social change towards sustainability.”