Design and Social Innovation in Vulnerable Communities

DS 74: Proceedings of the 14th International Conference on Engineering & Product Design Education (E&PDE12) Design Education for Future Wellbeing, Antwerp, Belguim, 06-07.9.2012

Year: 2012
Editor: Lyndon Buck, Geert Frateur, William Ion, Chris McMahon, Chris Baelus, Guido De Grande, Stijn Verwulgen
Author: Mejia, Luis; Betancourt, Maria Clara
Series: E&PDE
Institution: Icesi University, Colombia
Section: Wellbeing
Page(s): 555-560
ISBN: 978-1-904670-36-0


Industrial Design’s responsibility is to design friendly environments for users that minimize the impact of proposed solutions ensuring that these will be regenerative and that they will give back more resources than the ones they have taken, always keeping in mind the improvement in societies’ conditions. In a country of contrasts such as Colombia, social innovation is a challenge for disciplines with high social impact. For this reason the academy has been inclined to educate future professionals with high sense of social responsibility, searching always for sustainability, being understood as a tool that helps to mitigate current economic and social imbalances. This is why the Industrial Design Academic Program is looking forward to promoting solutions that face the future with a special emphasis on social responsibility, trying to intervene directly in particular sectors of the society, as well as specific communities with a high vulnerability level. A research methodology has been implemented during the last five years, concluding with a thesis design project developed by undergraduate senior students. This methodology directly involves the students with the specific environment to be affected, relating them directly with the problem and giving them the possibility to make an ethnographical study that allows the development of a design project centred in real needs. Up to this moment, the methodology has been successfully implemented achieving the development of projects that have been able to respond to real social needs using design as a tool for improving sustainability in the country.

Keywords: Sustainability, social design, social innovation, academy


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