Changing the Change
The three-day Changing the Change conference, which is about the role of design research in sustainable change and scheduled for 10-12 July in Turin, Italy, looks to become very interesting indeed.

The list of invited speakers and discussants features Bill Moggridge (IDEO); Geetha Narayanan (Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology, India); Lou Yongqi (Tongji University, China); Mugendi M. Rithaa (Cape Peninsula University of Technology, South Africa); Aguinaldo dos Santos (Universidade Federal do Paraná, Brazil); Fumi Masuda (designer, Japan), Chris Ryan (University of Melbourne, Australia); Luisa Collina (Polytechnic University of Milan, Italy); Josephine Green (Philips Design); Roberto Bartholo (Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), Anna Meroni (Polytechnic University of Milan, Italy), Luigi Bistagnino (Polytechnic University of Turin, Italy); Nigel Cross (The Open University, UK); Victor Margolin (University of Illinois at Chicago, USA); and Ken Friedman (Danmarks Designskole, Denmark)

No less than 163 abstracts have been accepted, including our own. Take a look at the titles and the presenters to get an idea of the variety on offer, all within the wider theme of design for sustainability, or read a reflection on the selection by conference chair Ezio Manzini.

The topics sound great and I will enjoy attending, but I have to point out that the large majority of the papers come from academic institutions. In fact, there are only a handful of major companies (Intel and Philips) and design consultancies (such as Experientia) involved.

This is something bound to be different at another major international conference scheduled in Turin, Italy, the UPA Europe 2008 conference, taking place in December. Conference co-chair (and my business partner) Michele Visciola told me that many major international companies have submitted papers for this conference with the theme “usability and design: cultivating diversity”. More is to follow soon.