In many parts of the world, formal or alternative educational programmes have been developed, focusing on innovation and the potential that design — design doing, design thinking, design cultures — offers to people and organizations.
This change directly affects the design education system, but also involves a number of actors (businesses, professionals, non-design schools, administrations, foundations, nonprofit organizations, cultural organizations, associations) that interpret design as an engine of innovation and leverage for change in educational processes.

We have studied this phenomenon at an international level and we want to share the results with the largest number of stakeholders involved, by giving voice to some major actors and reflecting on the centrality of education and training in innovation in our society.

FutureDesignEd intends to observe the ongoing transformations through a symposium, a publication and a social platform, to discover, understand, be part of and propose contemporary and sustainable strategies to face this future challenge with the optimism of design.


We work in a mature capitalist society. A society condemned to continuous and accelerated innovation, which seeks to manifest despite structural economic stagnation, despite the urgent need to consider sustainability and limited resources as a condition, despite the complexity of reality and the urgency of a rebalancing of the resources used.

As educators, researchers, entrepreneurs, active and proactive citizens, we want to know what meanings and forms may be assumed by a development process that, regardless of growth, invests in the spreading of design cultures to improve the world and its communities, its citizens, and also its organizational and entrepreneurial forms that produce goods and services.

We believe it is useful and urgent to confront on the theme of design as a culture (not just a practice), as an innovation driver and leverage of the educational system’s transformation. FutureDesignEd wants to share the roots, understand the current situation and propose models for the future in design schools and, more generally, in organizations interested in welcoming the innovative value of design.


  • Identify in the world an important number of experienced observers able to convey the signs of a contemporary attempt to invest in models and places of training and education in innovation.
  • Census, file, map and interpret the major cases of this phenomenon.
  • Trace links between past experiences, present situation and future prospects.
  • Leave records of this research and crystallize this exchange in the form of a symposium to create dialogue and open a collective reflection on the theme.
  • Create an online, open, permanent observatory to aggregate the most important stimuli on the phenomenon.


  • is an international symposium that will take place on 30 September 2017 at the Opificio Golinelli in Bologna during the Bologna Design Week 2017. A day of study to show the results of an ongoing research project and to give voice, through direct testimonies of protagonists from all over the world, to the strategies and motivations behind the innovation excellence in the didactic curricula of design universities, but also to the alternative training realities based on approaches and tools from the cultures of design;
  • is an ongoing academic research project engaging over 100 international observers and experts, involved in reporting experiences that relate to design-driven educational processes;
  • is a social-media platform to promote the symposium and the research project but also to inform and engage students, citizens, educators, researchers, practitioners, businesses and all other stakeholdersregarding educational processes and transformations in which design is interpreted as an innovation factor.


Putting Bologna at the Center of this Reflection

Bologna is at the centre of the second manufacturing district of Europe, it is the capital of the Emilia-Romagna region which has the highest per capita level of economic well-being of Italy, one of the highest on the continent. It is the home of the oldest university in the western world, it is a place where industry, culture and creativity have been living together for many centuries and generating well-being, knowledge and civilization.

A Few of the International Observers

Jimena Alarcon Grupo de Investigación en Diseño en Universidad del Bío-Bío, Chile; Fátima Aparecida dos Santos Universidade de Brasília, Brasil; Audrey Bennett Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, USA; Audra Buck-Coleman University of Maryland, USA; Bernard J Canniffe Iowa State University, USA; Halim Choueiry HBR Creative Platform, Lebanon; Gillian Crampton Smith H-Campus, Italy; Liz Danzico School of Visual Arts, USA; Carmelo Di Bartolo, Italy; Hugh Dubberly Dubberly Design Office, USA; Roberto Iñiguez Flores Escuela de Arquitectura, Arte y Diseño - Tecnológico de Monterrey, Mexico; Carlo Franzato Escola da Industria Criativa, Unisinos, Brasil; Peter Hall Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London, UK; Cheryl Heller School of Visual Arts, USA; Debera Johnson Pratt, USA; Russell Kennedy Deakin University, Australia; Jacques Lange University of Pretoria, South Africa; Patricia Hernández Navarro Universidad Iberoamericana, Mexico; Jackie Malcolm Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design, University of Dundee, UK; David Malouf Savannah College of Art and Design, USA; Ezio Manzini Politecnico di Milano, Italy; Pedro Medina IED Madrid, Centro Superior de Diseño, Spain; Geremy Mende California College of the Arts, USA; Stefano Mirti Design 101 MOOC, Italy; Dijon Moraes Junior Universidade do Estado de Minas Gerais, Brasil; Kali Nikitas Otis College of Art and Design, USA; Monica Parrinder Royal College of Art, UK; Odoch Pido Technical University of Kenya, Kenya; Sharon Poggenpohl Design Editor, USA; Gary Pritchard Ravensbourne, UK; Lynda Relph-Knight Design Writer, UK; Elisabeth Resnick Massachusetts College of Art and Design, USA; Stefan Sagmeister School of Visual Arts, USA; Alexandra Sankova Moscow Design Museum, Russia; Massimo Santanicchia Iceland Academy of the Arts, Iceland; Andreas Sicklinger German University in Cairo, Egypt; John Thackara Doors of Perception, UK; Min Wang China Central Academy of Fine Arts, China; Lawrence Zeegen Ravensbourne, UK