Transformative & Inclusive Practices

In this squad, we consider the transformations of our societies, dealing with major societal issues, local challenges for social resilience, or individual banal activities of the everyday.
We address them through transformative practices, which imply that:

  • we design for novel practices for outside, as well as look into novelty inside our own practice. Our actions should therefore be reflected upon ourselves a we interact with the object of our design.
  • we consider reality to be in a permanent and complex flow of transformation. Our design is therefore a endless exploration of an endless changing world, a world to be always discovered .
  • we aspire to look for yet unpredictable outcomes, that are progressively and iteratively refined throughout the design process.
  • we are always considering the connection between the individual and the systems (s)he belongs to. Designing for an individual as consequences in the community; desiging for a community as consequences on the indivudal.

In other words, our societal challenges and shifts increase the demand for new (design) approaches and tools, as well as different attitudes and skills from us all (citizens and stakeholders). Our approach and our projects relentlessly look for the transformations of practices and perspectives for the ones we are designing for, as well as for the transformations of our practices and our persepectives as designers.
Moreover, our design focuses and approaches always demand for the consideration of socio-technical systems, and therefore for the effective involvement of technology in designing. Technology may support the design inquiry (e.g., data-enable design), and provide valuable opportunities for the design outcome.
The projects proposed in this squad are based upon the transformative practices framework and explore these new approaches, tools, attitudes, skills as well as new designs. They can be both explored as a research project as well as a design project.

Design Challenges

Transformation Paradigm
Caroline Hummels, Pierre Lévy
Context / client: Philips
Experts: Ambra Trotto, Pernilla Glaser
The transformation paradigm invites the designer(s) to look at the context of design challenges in a new economical perspective, namely the transformation economy. This economy invite to consider the transformation od social and environmental challenges into market opportunities, and therefore invites business to focus resources towards better social living conditions and improving the (immediate) environment (Brand & Rochi, 2011). This project is aiming to bring design at the core of this vision: how can we design for meaningful context-specific propositions built around long-lasting, profitable, ethical, and fair business practices, and based on multiple stakeholder collaboration and value sharing (Brand & Rochi, 2011)? Throughout project proposed either by the client or by the student, projects will question the opportunities created through design towards the transformation paradigm, and the transformation of the role of the designer in this new paradigm.
Strengthening social resilience
Caroline Hummels
Context / client: Province Noord-Brabant
Expert: Cindy van den Bremen
Together with the Province of North Brabant, we aim at improving Social Resilience in the province. Social Resilience is the ability of people to react to changes which are taking place at a fast pace in the province.
In many places, inintiatives and groups of people show energy and resilliance. Yet, there are also people that are not so self supporting. In this project, we intend to support vulnerable groups so that they can keep or find connections in our society. In other words, through the program Social Resiliance, we aim to make sure more people can profit from and contribute to a good quality of life in Brabant.
Students will work on real case with the Province, contributing in a creative way to social innovation in relation to technology. Focus would be to work on concrete tools or serious games to support co-creation and participation, creating communities and exchanging knowledge.
More info at
Inside-Out | Outside-In
Pierre Lévy, Caroline Hummels
Context / client: depending on the project
This project invites two students (or more) to work on parallel on the same topic from two very different perspectives. The first perspective considers as a starting point global point-of-view (outside), exploring the social or societal aspects in relation with the design challenge. An outcome of this exploration (validated in context) will be the core of the designing. The conclusion will demand the student to reflect on the impact of the design on people’s life (at a concrete level as possible) and one’s self (in). The second perspective considers as a starting point the first-person point-of-view (inside). The student taking this approach will first question and challenge her/his own life, exploring through action and reflection the challenged values. The inside step deals with details, intimacy, reality. The outcome of this exploration, that is a value that is a key in the transformation to be addressed through design, will then be challenged at the third-person point-of-view (out) to operate a transformative design.