News|Academy|25 Aug 2022|Denisse Bronsoiler

Leading Social Design into the 21st Century

The 4th PARK Academy Alumni Event (formerly known as ‘Grow’) with the topic ‘Leading Social Design into the 21st Century’ took place in June 2022. We want to provide a summary and share our reflections.

PARK Academy Alumni Events are organized for Former PARK Academy students from all over the world. We provide them with a place where they can network, connect with other design leaders, learn new topics, and practice what they do best: design.

The topic of this year’s event was Leading Social Design into the 21st Century. Frans Joziasse, founder and former director of PARK Academy, explained what is Social Design and its importance in current times. As designers, we have the responsibility and skills to contribute to social issues and improve the future of people, governments, communities and societies, and the planet.

Some design leaders who are active in Social Design were mentioned and we had the opportunity to listen to two amazing lectures from Social Design leaders. Colum Lowe, Director of the Design Age Institute at Royal College of Art London, and Fredrik Scheide, Former PARK Academy student and Head of Design Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration Olso.

Illustration of Colum Lowe

Colum Lowe

The first speaker talked about the execution of new innovative ideas, with a focus on design failures or ‘bad designs’. Then, he introduced the aging topic and the aging population which is the focus group of the Design Age Institute work. The aging population often gets stereotyped. The challenge of the Institute is to understand the transition of people when they age, and design for this group with a focus on inclusivity and social aspects.

Illustration of Fredrik Scheide

Fredrik Scheide

The second speaker described his journey working for the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration. This agency works with federal money and Frederik manages the design team that consists of more than 80 designers from different disciplines. Complex frameworks where governments are involved (such as this one) require the application of complex tools such as social mapping. Frederik showed examples of challenges they have, especially in the Covid-19 pandemic, and how designers navigated the got involved to ensure that the social issue was tackled in the best way with a short time to develop immediate solutions.

After listening to very inspiring lectures in the field of social design, the PARK Academy team presented the outcomes of the Second PARK Academy Global Alumni Research conducted in February and March 2022, and our new offering: Coaching. The full report will be sent to PARK Academy Alumni.

System Mapping

Finally, the Alumni and guests got introduced to the System Mapping topic. After understanding what a System Mapping tool is and how to use it in the context of Social Design, Alumni got together in a Miro workshop environment to put their new skills into practice. The audience was split into teams and each team received a Social Design issue. The team activity consisted of understanding the system, defining the variables that influence the issue, mapping the system, and connecting the different parts of the system to show how they interact or influence each other. Using the Social Design System Mapping PARK Academy tool, the teams were able to distill these complex issues and define some next steps to further explore the social issue.

Grow PARK Academy Alumni participated in a Social Design workshop

The 4th PARK Academy Alumni Event was another successful, insightful, and inspiring opportunity for Alumni to connect with peers and continue their learning in design leadership. We hope that everyone enjoyed this meeting, and we look forward to seeing you at the next PARK Academy Alumni Event, which is planned for May 25th, 2023. Stay connected to this channel for more information on future events.

We would like to thank our amazing speakers, Column, and Frederik for sharing their journeys and experience in the field, and to the PARK Team for planning another great event.

The recording of the event will be sent to the Alumni that attended the session.

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