In: K. Kuitenbrouwer, T. Goudswaard, A. Schamineé. SocialDesignForWickedProblems - HNI, 2014

Hans Vermaak

Since a few years visual artists and designers in the Netherlands have banded together with organizations to adress social issues in a different way. They focus on complex issues where sensemaking and participation is key. During the last half year or so three more action research projects were taken on with lost of enthusiasm. The movement reported on this October at the Dutch Design Week. 

This report is available by using this issuu-link. It shows a translated version of the original Dutch report. Though the translation is a bit rough, it does inspire and gives an impression on how issues were reframed and new perspectives were found and sometimes experimented with. it documents how visual artists and designers try to become ‘social designers’  by using and stretching their knowledge and skills to adress social issues. At the same time it shoes how organisations experiment with different types of strategies to make a difference.

The report also tries to draw some overall lessons in terms of social design and introduces ‘in between – language’ as a meaningful way to create more space for social innovation. The projects are documented on the group’s site (Social Design For Wicked Problems) in more detail but most of it is in Dutch. My role has been limited to at times inspire the initiative and reflect on lessons learned. In the report I have contributed an epilogue to that end.