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Ezio Manzini

Job Title: Professor and founder of the DESIS Network 

This exchange is helping us to better understand how our initiatives should evolve in the difficult present times.


Who are you and what do you do? 

I am Ezio Manzini, teacher, researcher and founder of DESIS Network: an international network of design labs based in design schools and working in the field of design for social innovation towards sustainability.


What drives you as a individual? What are you passionate about? 

Until now, during my whole life, I have been driven by a mix of curiosity, social and political commitment and a strong design attitude, that brought, and still is bringing me to search for meaningful ideas and opportunities. Today, on the top of this, there is also a unprecedented concern for the catastrophic phase in which we have entered.


What was your first encounter with SIX? 

I met SIX when it was still only an idea. It happened in Beijing, the 16th October 2006, in a side meeting of a large conference. In this meeting, Geoff Mulgan and Louise Pulford presented the idea of building an international network on social innovation. At the same time, I mentioned that we too were doing something in the same direction: a network of design schools active in triggering and supporting social innovation for sustainability. I.e. the DESIS Network. From that moment on, the two networks have had several opportunities to converge, collaborate and mutually stimulate and support.


Who have been some the most memorable connections that you have made through SIX? 

I hve had many memorable encounters through SIX. One in particular is the Mayor of Seoul, Park Won-soon. And through Major Park, with the whole Seoul extraordinary experience. I can add that my present work on design for collaborative cities largely comes from there.


How do you think SIX has influenced or changed the way that you think about your work?

At the beginning, 10-12 years ago, the interaction with SIX helped to give a structure to the ideas on social innovation that me and the whole DESIS Network, were elaborating. Then, the multiple crossings that our paths have had, permitted us to continuously up-date and mutually up-grade the ideas on what to do and how. Today, this exchange is helping us to better understand how our initiatives should evolve in the difficult present times.