Research

My research focuses on how the abstract concept of Globalization phenomena is generating complex spaces of innovation, especially in urban environments. It discusses the overlaps between global and local scale and the consequent social and ecological demands that emerge from novel references for social-ecological-technical contracts, and rules of engagement.

Through my work I argue that contemporary organizations and institutions were not designed accordingly to their potential to promote sustainable and equitable outcomes; they lack the capability and the structure to operate in the speed and dynamics in which individuals are interacting with themselves and the environment. As the world has passed the 7.5 billion mark, this is generating unintended consequences (e.g. irreversible environmental damages and social inequalities) empowered by the fast-changing technology industry. In this context, my interest is to explore: what are the forces that are preventing the organizations to reinvent themselves and adapt their processes and structures to consider major challenges of current reality? How might organizations unlock their operational systems, and incorporate principles of sustainability and equity into their choice-making processes? How can design foster an innovation culture for sustainable and equitable practices?


Organizations that develop more interactive, nonlinear and open processes, have higher chances to avoid collapsed consequences on existing centralized and decentralized systems. They have to be prepared to embrace pragmatic methods for continuous innovation in order to be comfortable with ambiguity and uncertainty. They need proper tools, methods and frameworks to manage conflicts, perfom rapid prototyping, and mobilize actions in distributed networks. Such condition challenges the centralized, linear and fragmented production-consumption models within which organizations are operate.

Design is a discipline capable of integrating dispersed networks, and promote behavioral transitions not only at the individual and organizational level, but also at the level of systems.  While several scholars and practitioners in the field are exploring new methods of strategic thinking, multidisciplinary collaboration, organizational agility, and continuous adaptation to advance the field in each one of these levels, there is greater potential to use Design as a the means for interconnecting siloed practices to enable more sustainable and equitable innovation processes.

My major contribution has been in creating structures to guide context-sensitive innovation practices towards sustainability and equity. I am designing new methods, tools, and frameworks to expand collective debates around of what kinds of growth are needed, how they can be structured, where and when they can be created, and ultimately who are the beneficiaries as well as the responsibility for promoting the desirable growths.

For example, the diagram above challenges the current practice of design by arguing that the opportunity space for new systems interventions rely on the intersection between the problem space, the solution space, and the innovation space. This requires from agents involved the understanding of their limited capacity in framing problems, and developing interventions that are disconnected from the fundamental socio-ecological challenges facing society. However, more than reinforcing the needs for new forms of collaborative practices, my work considers that not all phenomena related to the social order are exclusively human creations, and provides guidance in integrating considerations of different actors and infrastructures within the design of sustainable solutions.

Interested? Now you know where to find me!