(Written by Teresa Franqueira, from ID+ DESIS Lab, Portugal)

For those of you who don’t know me yet, for the past 20 years I have been working, teaching and researching sustainability, service design and social innovation subjects.

Ezio Manzini was my PhD supervisor and I am involved with the DESIS network since its inception.

Upon my PhD graduation and return to the University of Aveiro, I founded the first – and the only one, so far – DESIS Lab in Portugal, which has been fostering connections with other networks, leading and participating in European projects and COST actions in the areas of social innovation. In this Desis Lab, there has always been a strong emphasis in knowledge-sharing and leveraging best practices from other Desis Lab, achieved through a policy that promotes the mobility and hosting of researchers from other Labs.

After this managing experience at a more atomic level, I am extremely enthusiastic about designing and implementing a program for the coming 2 years for the Desis Network, one that intends to build on the work developed by the previous IC, but tailored to meet the challenges of emerging realities. In the light of new developments and changes, the DESIS network must adapt itself, redirecting its activities to a new wave of social innovations, that while centred on environmental issues, is not oblivious to the intricate web of interrelated economic, cultural and political implications.

The 2-year project I propose is developed in 3 main pillars

Network Refocus:

With a biannual event “Talks for the Planet” as a tool to build and share knowledge through debates and reflections about on-going or prospective social initiatives for the planet.

Foster deeper connections between DESIS Labs:

Reinforce the connections between DESIS labs with informal open meetings – the “DESIS Café” – as a virtual place for sharing and reflection, where all DESIS members can exchange ideas, best practices and difficulties of projects and actions.

Fostering a broader ecosystem:

To promote and structure meaningful interactions with other networks, including but not limited to environmental / sustainable / social activism networks. This initiative dubbed “Bring a Friend” is a way to connect with affinity networks and hopefully be the start of a thriving ecosystem where common goals and initiatives can be shared and specific skills and knowledge can be leveraged to create synergies with other networks and partners.