The Final Synthesis Design Studio has been conceived to guide the students into an all-inclusive experience in designing product-service systems.
Primary aim of the Studio is to provide some theoretical and practical tools to manage the specific PSS design process as an innovative reply to the actual market needs.
In fact if once we were used to consider any product, space or service as the result of a sequence of efforts made separately by many disciplines - such as graphic, communication, product, service or interior design - now such a division is no more suitable and designers are more and more asked to handle different kinds of topics contemporarily to find solutions in real time.
From this point of view, all terms we were familiar to - such as "market", "target", "consumers", even including "designer" - have been completely transformed, especially if considering the effects of the digital revolution and of the web 2.0.
Also the relationship between companies, designers and customers changed, blurring the limits of each other roles and promoting active pro-sumers or consum-authors.
On the other hand, the technological improvements made the products more difficult to be identified and choosen on the mere base of their performances or physical qualities: the consumers buy them following their gut feeling and driven by the experience and emotion a brand can provide to them.
According to this situation it’s improper to approach the design of a product, a space or a service not considering it as part of a complex system and so enlarging the focus from its performance and feasibility to its ability to create interaction with the customers or to represent the brand values at the best, or to be scalable on market needs or to positively affect the company business model or even to generate some sort of social innovation (just to make some random example).
As a consequence, the designers need to improve their special ability to detect and interpret social phenomena, new trends and innovative behaviors at least as well as to update themselves to cutting edge technologies or materials. They need to implement their storytelling ability too, knowning that the design process is no more the shortest way to get a result, but the smartest.
As in previous years the topic of the Studio will be centered in the Milanese context - to provide a real playground for analysis and research - and strictly connected with the idea that product-service systems can help in designing a different city, to enhance positive urban behaviors and to improve positive lifestyles.
This year specific theme will be: “Living with Aminals”.
The educational methodology of the course is based on a series of workshop interspersed with frontal lessons, in order to have dense designing moments and pause of reflections for debriefing. This process includes a preliminary phase dedicated to the explanation of theoretical and practical tools for framing the research session, the scenario definition and the following design activity.
In a first phase the students will be asked to work in large groups (about 8 people) in order to collect information and data on the specific year topic. During this phase the students will make on field co-research and will make experience in interpreting and presenting the result of their research.
This phase will be concluded with a first one-week long workshop dedicated to the storytelling activity: each group will be asked to present several design opportunities and scenarios and to collaborate in the creation of a common thesaurus containing all data collected by the entire class.
Along this period a specific series of lesson on business model will be provided in order to guide future design phases.
Two one-week long workshops will follow: the first one will be more focused on the intangible content of a PSS, while the second on the tangible one. During these workshops students will be asked to work in smaller groups (4 people).
In the final weeks - end of January - the students will prepare a final document in which they will summarized their experience and go deeper in the definition of one of the project of the workshops, applying to their proposal the notions and considerations learnt about the business model.
The students will be required to work in groups and/or individually in order to learn or improve their ability in :
- observing behaviors and detecting new trends, regarding the specific year topic;
- designing new scenarios for their proposal;
- implementing their storytelling capability;
- developing concepts for new product/service and communication strategies;
- studying the brand-identity and business model of their proposal, also in relationship to the hypothetical market or competitors etc.;
- developing concepts for new "retail" spaces (if needed) or for innovative urban spaces;
- combining the different elements together in an unique strategic program and visualizing them in a proper way;
- using the business model canvas as a tool to check design improvements;
- present the whole process (from the analysis to the design activity) at the end of the course.
Please consider the above description has to be considered as a draft guide of the Course: slight changes may occur and will be reported in the first day lesson.