Design as enabler of anticipatory systems: The MakeinProgress case study

Venanzio Arquilla, Annalisa Barbieri

Abstract


In this paper we investigated the relationship between anticipation and design. Through a case study, we analysed the role Design plays among the anticipation processes in regards to the development of a territory. The functional structure of anticipation is based on a three-part scheme: a normal part, a model of the normal part, a steering device able to steer the normal part according to the outcomes of the model. The case study represented the model whereby the possible evolution of the normal part is experienced. The aim was to test whether design could enable anticipatory systems by operating as steering device and by supporting its action through processes of prefiguration, vision and realization. The case study ‘MakeinProgress’ (MiP) was born from an opportunity in the territory — the architectural recovery of a former “Filanda”, funded by local authorities with public financing. The MiP project started as an incubator and then converted with the intervention of design. To convert MiP we applied an action-research approach. In the case of MiP, the local community could be seen as an autopoietic system, whereas the tools, belonging to the Service Design and to the Design for Social Innovation, acted as steering device. The paper presents the process whereby people were enabled to define new job opportunities out of their passions, to exploit the available space to the best of its potential, linking the territory to the national and international circuits. MiP is a concrete demonstration of the possible role of Design among anticipation mechanisms, thanks to the application of Service Design tools. MiP also acts as support for the creation of models to be used to support the public system and governments and to support the community.

Keywords: MakeinProgress, Anticipation, Service Design, Social Innovation.


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