This edition of the Service Design Masterclasses came at the end. Last Friday we had the fifth class with Giulio Quaggiotto, Head of the Strategic Innovation Unit at the United Nations Development Programme.

Thanks to Giulio, we explored why the tech-driven “move fast and break things” mantra often leads to negative results when applied to complex social challenges. As he said, ‘Fast is not a direction‘, and there’s a huge difference between incremental and traditional change. Drawing from real-world cases in emerging markets, Giulio made us reflect on the allure of what has been called the “the reductive seduction of solving other people’s problems” (Martin) and why addressing systemic challenges such as the plastics crisis or increasing inequality require much more than being “user-centered” or practicing “empathy”. One of the key elements of the lecture was, in fact, the importance of reframing a problem.

The lecture faced a great variety of topics ranging from climate urgency to technology to development policies, seen from different, very practical perspectives (with a lot of brilliant examples and quotes), and arguing some of the most common “design” methodologies. The lecture has also been highly interactive, with participants constantly chatting with Giulio, and with a team exercise about a “fictional” topic of a big city’s super-comprehensive resilience strategy.

This edition was explosive and saw a huge audience, along with our students, involving more than 50 practitioners, teachers, and Polimi alumni, and 25 students from other’s Masters. Thanks again to all the participants! Follow us and stay updated on the Master.