EDF symposium re: DESIGN_Europe

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In the course of this meeting the EDF partners have focused on two main aspects of design: sensitivity and concreteness, considering them the most relevant in this particular historical moment. By sensitivity, they mean the attention paid to understanding the deep meaning of the surrounding world, of nature and of human beings. By concreteness, they mean the desire to transform our intuitions into reality. In this sense they have achieved a greater awareness about the potential of design. In an economy where it is not possible to compete on price, the only differentiation is creativity and, as Hugo Manassei has pointed out, design skills are the most desirable skills to have in our new (conceptual) economy. The presentations on Design and Management (Roberto Verganti, Koenraad Debackere, and Mario Trimarchi) and Design for Business and History (Tobia Scarpa and Marianne Aav) supported this position. There is, however, a fundamental importance of the “trust” or “reliability” factor, as discussed during the Design Education and Industry session by Hugo Manassei and Janice Kirkpatrick, and by Harri Koskinen, Marc Aurel and Roger Narboni. This is absolutely necessary for design and must be acknowledged by our society (intended to include both the public and private sectors, and consumers and producers). If our society trusts design, it can become a guiding force, and thus continue to carry out its role as innovator and bearer of knowledge and added value. Without this faith, on the other hand, design risks becoming a marginal activity and an end in itself. This is also the reason, as both Conway Lloyd Morgan and Knut Maierhorfer have observed, why the clear communication of both content and meaning is a fundamental objective of design.

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