Designing Social Innovation in Asia-Pacific (DESIAP) is a network of researchers and change-makers led by Yoko Akama (RMIT University, Australia) and Joyce Yee (Northumbria University, UK), to enable researchers and practitioners undertaking design and social innovation (D&SI) in the region to mutually learn and support collective capacity building. DESIAP has been supported by these institutions and other funds from the UK and Australia, guided by an international Advisory Board.
This network has been built on a series of workshops and public symposia to share inspiration, knowledge and learnings through practical examples. The first DESIAP event took place in Singapore 2015 at the National Design Centre and it confirmed strong interest and opportunity for D&SI in the Asia-Pacific region. DESIAP Bangkok 2016, sponsored by Thai Creative Design Centre, built on that experience, drawing an international audience of over 150 academics, policy makers and practitioners across two days. DESIAP KL 2017 was the 3rd public symposium, held at Majlis Rekabentuk Malaysia (Malaysia Design Council) in Kuala Lumpur. This gathering aimed to explore alternative social impact evaluations that are more suited to the dynamic and complex characteristics of community-led D&SI projects. In between these large gatherings, we have held smaller workshops and collaborated on publications and other initiatives.
For an overview of how our activities have developed since 2014, view our DESIAP network activities map.
The idea of a Network initially began with our mutual curiosity about what kinds of “design” and “social innovation” projects are undertaken in the Asia-Pacific region and by whom, and a desire to create a platform for capacity-building and knowledge-sharing among those tackling systemic and complex challenges with their local communities. We have learnt through our gathering that heterogeneous design practices have always been active under other names, continually constituted by various blends of cultures, relationships, materials, histories, philosophies, and world views to become relevant to certain localities and situations. You can learn more about insights and findings that has emerged from our conversations in the DESIAP Insights section.