Anna Meroni

The 21st November, the annual DESIS Assembly will take place, in Hong Kong, just before the Cumulus Conference. For several reasons it will be for us a very important moment.

In fact, this Assembly will be the opportunity for the network to discuss, to share the current projects and initiatives, and to elect the next International Coordinator. All Lab representatives are welcome to participate (and for those who cannot attend in presence, a digital connection will be set in Skype). Here I like to underline two main reasons of this year Assembly importance.

The first one is on contents in discussion. Design for social innovation is by its same nature very sensitive to social and political changes. In this period changes are accelerating. Therefore, for us, it is fundamental to continuously up-date our ideas and the way to present them. The DESIS Assembly will be an opportunity to do it together. We have two months to prepare it. All the kinds of formal and informal discussions should be promoted (Ezio Manzini’s text, published in parallel to this text, could be a trigger for this them).

The second motivation is that the next DESIS Assembly will also give us the opportunity to elect the future International Coordinator. No need to say that this will be an important moment for our network. And I think useful to recall some points on this issue.

A network is a light social form. In our interpretation, it cannot and must not be “directed”, as it happens with other, more structured, organizations. But a network can and must be coordinated. That is, the few basic rules and the digital platform that make the networking possible must be enforced and kept alive. In the DESIS Network case, this is the role of the International Coordinator -IC (and of the International Coordination Committee – ICC). Considering this mainly practical role of the IC, from the DESIS beginning, we decided to adopt an election process based on the conversation and the consensus building.

In this spirit, in the past months, given that my mandate as IC was going to the end, several informal discussions took place in different occasions. The result is that now we have a candidate for the next mandate who is endorsed by all the International Coordination Committee (ICC): she is Carla Cipolla, already member of the ICC and coordinator of the UFRJ Lab, of Rio de Janeiro. Carla has been in DESIS since its early construction phase and, having played different roles in it, knows DESIS quite well and from many perspectives. Therefore, I am sure she can interpret, up-date and up-grade the original DESIS aims and spirit in the best way.

In conclusion, a personal note: in the past three years I played the role of International Coordinator. It has been an honor. It has been fun. It has been difficult. With the Milan Politecnico team, we succeed in doing something important, and we didn’t in something else. Here I will only thank everybody for the support and make my best wishes to the next coordinator.