Ezio Manzini

President DESIS Network,
Distinguished Professor of Design for Social Innovation, Elisava, Barcellona
Honorary Professor Politecnico di Milano

Speaker/ monday May 28
Workshop/ tuesday May 29


Civic consciousness can be described as the willingness to operate for the regeneration of the social and physical quality of the context in which we live. Its existence implies the presence of widespread mutual trust and shared ideas within a society: I trust that if I behave properly, others will do the same. A shared idea of what we mean by “proper behaviour”. Defined in this way, civic consciousness is, to all intents and purposes, a social common good. And so, like all common goods, it cannot be produced directly, but emerges as a precious collateral effect of actions undertaken with different aims, but endowed with relational qualities such as, in our case, mutual trust, capacity for collaboration and the sharing of certain essential ideas about the city and society. Given this definition, this talk will start with the crisis of civic consciousness today, and discuss how to overcome it using the teachings that come to us from social innovation. In particular, it will lead us to observe: 1. the rise of a civic consciousness based on collaborative action; 2. the consequent possibility of regenerating it by promoting and spreading collaborative activity; 3. the existence of guidelines to help orient its contents; and 4. how design can stimulate and facilitate all of the above.

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Manzini, E., & Coad, R. (2015). Design, when everybody designs: An introduction to design for social innovation. MIT press.

Manzini, E. (2018). Politics of the Everyday. Life Projects that change the World. Bloomsbury.


He works in the field of design for social innovation and, on this topic, he started DESIS Network. Presently, he is Distinguished Professor on Design for Social Innovation a Elisava-Design School and Engineering, Barcelona; Honorary Professor at the Politecnico di Milano; and Guest Professor at Tongji University (Shanghai) and Jiangnan University (Wuxi). Most recent books: Design, When Everybody Designs. An Introduction to Design for Social Innovation, MIT Press 2015 (translated until now in 7 languages); and The Politics of Everyday. Life Projects that Change the World, Bloomsbury” (November 2018). http://www.desis-network.org

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