Last week, UC San Diego Design Lab Assistant Professor of Cognitive Science Steven Dow and postdoctoral fellow Narges Mahyar spoke at the Collaboratory for Downtown Innovation’s (CDI) Game Changer series to introduce a new strategy and program, “Design San Diego.” Design San Diego is a public engagement initiative that fosters collaboration between citizens and government to address civic challenges such as urban development and climate change. Design San Diego will increase understanding of current issues, collecting and synthesizing points of view, and bring citizens and government together to co-create solutions.
The Collaboratory for Downtown Innovation is a two-year initiative inside the Downtown San Diego Partnership’s headquarters on B Street that involves workshops where entrepreneurs meet with researchers and scientists to help boost opportunities in science and technology. Dow and Mahyar’s workshop outlined a new program and strategy that will help city leaders take on society’s most daunting challenges. The new program, Design San Diego, relies on a strategy called collective innovation, which combines theories involving design thinking and collective intelligence. With collective innovation, groups jointly explore and refine solutions for complex, multifaceted problems in business and civics. Dow and Mahyar explained that by engaging many diverse stakeholders, communities can solve bigger and messier problems.
“While technology has made it easy to connect people, we need to advance fundamental research on collective innovation, where groups collectively explore and refine solutions for complex, multifaceted problems in business and civics,” says Mahyar.
To further explore collective innovation in society, Dow and Mahyar have put together a research group at the Design Lab and created an online platform that will help San Diego civic, business and government leaders and citizens better understand how to select and build on the most promising ideas. The platform will also address how to engage the general public in the decision-making processes and how to effectively engage in large-scale participatory design thinking by gathering feedback from communities of stakeholders.
To contact Dow and Mahyar or to find out more about the Design San Diego initiative, go to http://designsandiego.ucsd.edu/