Ezio Manzini: Politics of the Everyday

An expert on social innovation and sustainable design, Ezio Manzini proposes a radical overhaul in how we as individuals spend our time, and in what we value. He argues that individuals can change society by choosing different policies for their own lives, and that designers can use their competencies and collaborative attitudes to create socially and environmentally regenerative ways of living.

Drawing from his book, Politics of the Everyday (Bloomsbury 2019), the celebrated design theorist will discuss how solitude and collaboration affect our life projects and can either confirm or transform our sociotechnical systems.

When designers focus on designing collaboratively for community infrastructure change, they can leverage and scale design capabilities so that systems continue to adapt and change well after the design intervention. Following the talk, a panel of social innovation activists, institutional representatives, and academic researchers will engage Ezio in a discussion of the current social innovation landscape in Chicago and the role of ID, Illinois Tech, and other higher education institutions in that landscape.  

About Ezio Manzini

Ezio Manzini is the founder of DESIS Network, an international network on design for social innovation and sustainability. He is the author of Politics of the Everyday (Bloomsbury 2019) and Design, When Everybody Designs: An Introduction to Design for Social Innovation (MIT Press 2015). He is Distinguished Professor of Design for Social Innovation at Elisava-Design School and Engineering, Barcelona; Honorary Professor at the Politecnico di Milano; and Guest Professor at Tongji University (Shanghai) and Jiangnan University (Wuxi).

About our panelists

George Aye co-founded Greater Good Studio with the belief that design can advance equity for all. Previously, he spent seven years at global innovation firm IDEO before being hired as the first human-centered designer at the Chicago Transit Authority. Since founding Greater Good, he has worked across complex social issues such as criminal justice, civic engagement, public education, public health and youth development. Greater Good Studio was awarded the TED Prize City 2.0 (2012) and recognized in the Public Interest Design 100 list (2013). The studio’s work was featured in LEAP Dialogues: Career Pathways in Design for Social Innovation (published 2016) and Public Interest Design Practice Guidebook (published 2015). He is a frequent speaker and workshop facilitator. He presented on the topic of design and power at SXSW 2018 and the Service Design Global Conference 2017. George holds the position of Adjunct Full Professor at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. 

Technology is changing who, how, and when people can design solutions to pressing societal challenges. Liz Gerber works at the intersection of design, social computing, and organizational behavior to understand and design the future of collaborative work. Liz serves as the Faculty Founder of Design for America, winner of the 2018 Smithsonian Cooper Hewitt’s Design Award, and the Charles Deering McCormick Professor of Teaching Excellence, Director of the Delta Lab, Director of the Design Research Cluster at Northwestern University. Her work is generously supported by the National Science Foundation, Mozilla Foundation, McArthur Foundation and Adobe Systems. Previously, Liz helped to launch Stanford’s d.school and worked across the toy, transportation, and medical industries. Liz earned her Ph.D. in Management Science and Engineering and M.S. in Product Design at Stanford University.

Elise Zelechowski is director of social impact at ThoughtWorks, a global software consultancy with a commitment to social justice. Previously, Elise was the founding director of Rebuilding Exchange, a social enterprise with a mission to transform the waste system. Prior to that, she was managing director at the Delta Institute where she led a diverse portfolio of projects aimed at fostering a more sustainable and equitable region, including the LEED Certification of the Merchandise Mart and the 2012 Cook County Waste Plan.  Elise also spent 3 years with the City of Chicago, as a program manager with the Department of Environment, working on green building policy, programs, and partnerships to advance the City’s green building agenda.  She is a founding member of the Illinois Task Force on Social Innovation, a 2013 Chicago Community Trust Leadership Fellow, and was recognized as Chicago Magazine's 2012 Green Entrepreneur of the Year. Elise is a TEDx speaker, a frequent speaker on social enterprise, and has been featured in the Huffington Post, Crain’s, Chicago Magazine and Chicago Tonight.


About ID Design Intersections 2019: Design + Networks + Activation

In addition to developing concepts and interventions, today’s designers and leaders must direct the implementation of those concepts and interventions. Achieving systems-level success requires cultivating and activating networks—technological, infrastructural, and social—that support new collaborative activities, process, and mindsets.

Starting in February with a pre-conference event series, Design Intersections 2019: Design + Networks + Activation invites diverse leaders, including designers, executives, strategists, policymakers, and entrepreneurs to explore emergent practices for activating networks and designing infrastructures that lead to large scale impact. The series will culminate in a two-day conference (May 22–23, 2019) featuring talks, breakout sessions, and workshops across three programmatic areas:

  • Activism + Policymaking
  • Entrepreneurship + Emerging Technologies
  • Adaptive Leadership for New Economies

Together, we'll discover real-world contexts where organizational behavior, entrepreneurship, policymaking, and design are already colliding. We’ll examine new tools and methodologies to evolve our individual and collective points of view about adaptive leadership and the transformative practices—and challenges—of large-scale collaboration. We’ll learn new approaches for a range of industries (food, energy, financial services, housing, healthcare, hospitality, mobility, waste, public services, technology) and disciplines (behavioral science, public policy, communications), and reveal how design can do more than think—it can do.

About IIT Institute of Design (ID) 

IIT Institute of Design (ID) continually challenges what design is and can be. We focus not just on design itself, but the impact it has on the world around us. Founded by László Moholy-Nagy in 1937 as the “New Bauhaus,” for over 80 years ID has ignited designers’ imaginations—evolving design to combine form with human behavior, conquer complexity with clarity, and challenge convention through innovation in pursuit of a more sustainable future.

Our new home in the Kaplan Institute, just south of the Loop, is near the 35th-Bronzeville-IIT Red and Green Line stops, 90/94, and Lake Shore Drive.