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Design for Social Innovation


Design for Social Innovation focuses on the different forms of participative practices that promote social sustainability through the inclusion of communities’ perspective in knowledge development and new idea generation. Students receive the theoretical background that will guide them in understanding and managing the growing social challenges from a fashion perspective. It is delivered via theoryand exercises that are aimed at consolidating the knowledge on two core fields: contemporary issues in social sustainability and participatory design.

Different topics on social sustainability such as ethics, wellbeing and quality of life, social inclusion, human beings, child labour laws, and gender, are introduced throughliterature and discussed from a fashion perspective. In addition, students will familiarise themselves with participatory design tools, techniques, and methodologies, in order to pilot a co-design session. This session may consist of choosing the topic to be studied; setting the initial preparation of participants helping them to deepen into the chosen thematic; learning of kick-starting, interviewing and how-to-guide-conversation techniques. The outcomes will consist ofcognitive and context maps, storyboards and diary studies, concept board, mock-up of product or service design.

  • Co-design practices

  • Communities

  • Social innovation

  • Social sustainability

  • Participatory design

Student’s Pre-Requisite Skills and Knowledge

Basic concepts of sustainability

Learning Goals


Understand the fashion industry impact on societies.


Co-design skills, ability to design through participatory methods, openness, awareness of different social issues.

Pedagogical Approaches

Informed decision making; systemic thinking

Key Resources
  • Papanek, V., 1971. Design for the Real World: Human Ecology and Social Change. New York: Pantheon Books.

  • Meroni, A., Selloni, D., Rossi, M. (2018). MASSIVE CODESIGN. A PROPOSAL FOR A COLLABORATIVE DESIGN FRAMEWORK. Milano: FrancoAngeli. Design International (OPEN ACCESS

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