social innovation & design

Work/Life balance

In January, as I do every year, I resolved to balance work and life in a more mature way. It’s now September 16th, and….well, we’re not quite there yet.

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Dott 07 wrap event

Before we close the doors at Dott 07 for the last time, the final Dott 07 Explorers Club will take place in Newcastle on Wednesday 12 March. We will look back at Dott projects and discuss: what did we learn? and what happens next? We’ll have updates from the community design projects, including news from […]

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Why our design festival has no things in it

The house is cold, someone keeps turning the lights off, and the greywater toilet is blocked again. As a way of life, sustainabilty often sounds grim. The media don’t help: they tell us we have to consume our way to redemption. The shopping pages are filled with hideous hessian bags; and ads that used to […]

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How to live well – but lighter

For three years now Doors has been involved in a Europe-wide project called EMUDE (it stands for “Emerging User Demands for Sustainable Solutions”. That’s European research for you!). A network of design schools, acting as ‘antennas’, has collected examples of social innovation in a wide variety of contexts. Many of these seem to be more […]

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How the rich get … greener

I was looking for some data about the environmental impact of aviation and came across some good news! A website for us super-rich green folk called Helium lists luxury travel and real estate companies that promote eco-friendly travel. “You can spend over a $1,000 per night and sleep comfortably in the knowledge that you’re not […]

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An angel called Pradsa

Are you shaping the tools or techniques that help other people shape their world? There is no job description for what you do. You mix dedication to social change, confidence with people and organisations, and technical knowledge or skills. You are part of a growing number of committed people using innovation and ICT to help […]

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Recombinant innovation

“As 18-month-old Alexander Barham was wheeled into intensive care, his survival depended on the expertise of the medical specialists all around him and, in no small part, on the split-second precision of the Ferrari Formula One motor racing team”. A gripping story in the Telegraph describes how a major restructuring of the patient handover procedure […]

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The “social purpose space”

Having just read Heat (see below) I arrived in a sober mood in Beijing for what people said was the first social innovation conference. Gerard Lemos, in his welcome, reminded us of our moral duty to be optimistic. Thereafter, forty five lectures made for a gruelling programme, but things do look brighter at the event’s […]

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Creative class fights back

Two steps forward, one step back. In 2003 I gave a lecture called The Post-Spectacular City at a conference in Amsterdam. I argued that today’s “creative class”, having optimised the society of the spectacle, will be remembered for leaving behind narcissistic but meaningless cities. The talk was later included in a book called Creativity and […]

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