Second and Third International
LeNSin Seminars implemented in
South Africa and Mexico

Another two International Seminars invited project partners, local institutions, companies and NGOs to deepen focus on Design for Sustainability, discuss current situation and identify needs for improved design education. Events have opened up further possibilities for networking, for collaboration and for educating young designers to become the change makers for sustainable futures.

The Second LeNSin Seminar on Sustainable Product-Service System and Distributed Economies in South Africa

The 2nd international LeNS seminar took place at the Sustainability Institute in Cape Town, South Africa, on the 11th  and 12th of August 2016. The seminar was well attended by a range of people with an interest in design for sustainability (DfS), including academics and post-graduate students from design disciplines, especially from TU Delft; Aalto University Finland; Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) and the University of Stellenbosch (SUN). Among them were people bringing innovative business practices and ideas for sustainable products, services and systems; and others in the non-profit sector working for change towards sustainable futures.

11th August: Conceptual understandings of S.PSS and distributed economies

During the first day of the seminar speakers discussed the notion of distributed economies and explored it as being similar to understandings of the circular economy, a shared economy and networked economies. Participants were warned that designing merely sustainable products and services, that can be ‘reduced, reused or recycled’ is no longer enough: the world needs to shift sustainable systems as well – from a linear to a distributed economy. In a distributed economy, manufacturers transform their business from selling products to offering a product-service mix capable of fulfilling a demand for satisfaction; customers transform from consumption-based ownership of physical products to consumption based on access and sharing. The future lies in small businesses that produce locally and are integrated into the community, as they are more efficient than mega, trans-global companies. Case studies were presented of local businesses that are running much more sustainably from intensive mapping and analysing parts of the value or supply chain, and making the appropriate changes. Participants actively engaged and grappled with how to expand stakeholder value for existing, local sustainable design initiatives that were presented as case studies. The proceedings of the first day were captured in this graphic record, which demonstrates the complexity of designing for sustainable futures.

12th August: Design for Sustainability as the ‘new normal’ in design curricula

On the second day seminar participants applied their minds to questions of how to integrate Design for Sustainability into higher education curricula. It was pointed out that, in South Africa, educators are waiting for the design industry to drive sustainable design, whereas the industry is waiting for education and training institutions to lead the way in teaching it. Education institutions decided to take on the responsibility of building awareness of theoretical knowledge and practical implementation of sustainable design. A successful CPUT pilot industrial design course incorporated biomimicry and S.PSS tools for the students to design sustainable energy solutions to real-life energy problems in local contexts showed the potential and need for this type of learning innovations. It has been decided that design for sustainability has to be integrated as a core principle in the curriculum from the first year. Projects should involve students in collaborative design solutions across multiple disciplines and design educators need to be encouraged to collaborate through local design networks. Importantly, design for sustainability should be fun and opportunities sought for students to co-design with industry, giving maximum exposure to innovative solutions.

More information about the seminar:

Lens Labs opened in universities of Cape Town!

LeNS Labs for post-graduate student research are being set up in the Department of Visual Arts at Stellenbosch University, and as part of the Design Garage at Cape Peninsula University of Technology. It is expected that these will be up and running at the end of October 2016.

For further information, please contact:
Cape Peninsula University of Technology:
Andrea Broom

The Third LeNSin Seminar on Sustainable Product-Service System and Distributed Manufacturing and Design in Mexico

The 3rd International Seminar on S.PSS and Distributed Economies took place on the 5th, 6th and 7th of September in Mexico City. The goal of this event was to identify needs of local academics and companies in order to provide insights and suggestions for the design of the didactic curricular Pilot Courses relevant to Mexican context.

5th September: Design for Sustainability and S.PSS in local context

On the day one participants from various universities of Mexico City, The Netherlands, United Kingdom and Finland where discussing the importance of Design for Sustainability and S.PSS in design curricular. The agenda included presentations from Dr Fabrizio Ceschin (Brunel University London) and Wouter Kersten (TU Delft) talking about S.PSS and Context Variation in Design. Mexico City-based innovation consultancy Insitum delivered an inspiring presentation about design of experience and S.PSS having potential to create value for companies. Francisco Bonilla from UMA University ran an entertaining speech about key sustainability issues in Mexico. Morning and afternoon sessions were summarised in group exercises and collective discussions.

6th September: Distributed Manufacturing and Design in local context. Contents and initial design of the Pilot Courses

The second day of the seminar was dedicated to exchange knowledge regarding Distributed Manufacturing and Design. Dr Cindy Kohtala (Aalto University) and Aine Petrulaityte (Brunel University London) delivered presentations about the current state and the future of Distributed Manufacturing and Design, personal fabrication and maker movement. Mexico City Fab Lab director Rodrigo Langarica introduced Fab Lab Academy and opportunities of open fabrication workshops. Brenda Vértiz from ‘Laboratory for the City’ delivered a lively speech about urban experiments and interactions between citizens and the government. At the end of the day an in-depth discussion with academics from various universities of Mexico City was carried out aiming to identify gaps in existing design curricular and propose promising improvements. 

7th September: Listening to the industry

During the two-hour session on the day three experts from locally-based companies were invited to discuss about potential collaboration between businesses and students. Representatives from water harvesting company Isla Urbana, Google and renewable energy providers Yectlahuilli shared their previous experience working with design students and identify skills and expertise students’ lack. Intensive discussion between industry and academia showed the need for improved design curricular and opportunity for the Pilot Course to build the bridge between design students and companies.

Two more LeNS Labs opened in The Metropolitan Autonomous University in Mexico City!
We are happy to announce that LeNS Labs are now also open in UAM Cuajimalpa and UAM Azcapotzalco. Students, researchers and teachers of both campuses now have a space with access to equipment, tools and learning materials for facilitated teaching and learning practises in Design for Sustainability.

For further information please contact:

UAM Cuajimalpa: Brenda Garcia Parra,
UAM Azcapotzalco: Sandra Molina Mata, 

Social Innovation Forum

From the 7th to 9th of September, UAM Azcapotzalco hosted the forum titled “Design for Social Innovation in Distributed Economies”, which consisted in Key note speeches, Pecha Kucha style presentations, discussion panels and workshops. The speakers were: Anil K. Gupta (Honey Bee Network/ India), Brenda Vértiz (Laboratorio para la Ciudad/ Mex), Laura Forlano (Design Illinois Institute of Technology/ USA), Renata Fenton (Isla Urbana/ Mex), Aguinaldo Dos Santos (Universidade Federal do Paraná/ Brasil), Alastair Fuad-Luke (Free University of Bozen-Bolzano/ Italy), Cindy Kohtala (Aalto University/ Finland), Mónica Orozco and Sayuri Carrillo (Empatitis / Mex), José Mervin Cruz (Tekio/ Mex), Lino Romero (Ideas Disruptivas/ Mex), Claudia Garduño (Aalto LAB Mexico/ Fin-Mex), and Gustavo Merckel (Hacedores/ Mex).

More information about the 3rd International Seminar and Social Innovation Forum:

Forthcoming LeNSin Seminars
The 4th International Seminar on Sustainable Product-Service System and Distributed Economies will take place on the 21st and 22nd of October in Tsinghua University in China.The program and information about the speakers:

The final Seminar will be organised by the project partners from Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology on the 10th and 11th of November in Bengaluru, India. 
Copyright © 2016 LeNSin Project, All rights reserved.

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