The rise of startups

Design in a state of crisis



The concept of crisis is related to a sudden and distinct change, in a positive (or negative) direction, which occurs in a disease. As per its etymology, the crisis is a time for parting between two conditions, a sudden change for good or evil in the course of a disease, from which you judge and decide the healing or death. At the same time, Jean Baudrillard once claimed that Modernity “raises the concept of crisis to a form of value, to a contradictory morality, and it develops an aesthetics of disruption”. Then the state of crisis is including the awareness of an emergency, and at the same time states the turning point for a change.


Crisis becomes a place for new opportunities (knowledge, culture, innovation) but also the result of discontents (migration, conflicts, poverty). Then, any project for the future cannot be considered out of this scenario of crisis, where design assumes a central role in every process of transformation and innovation, elaborating technology, production and services. At the same time, the crisis can be an incredible chance for developing new spaces and tools to make people participate to the choices to produce shared innovation.


Within this, we examined the rise of startup culture in the subtext of a social crisis.

The full poster can be viewed here


We explored how the young generation of designers can improve our environment and life in creative ways. The emerging missions and visions of future design education, research and practice, together with its economic, political and social impacts of the era. In a contemporary crisis, we look ask, What is the life in contemporary society? How will design give an answer to such crisis? What are the artifacts and services emerging? What are the challenges we will face in the near future?


This was done in collaboration with Foongling Chen and Xinran Fan.

A visual study of our observations were summarized into a poster and our findings were presented as a part of a seminar series titled 'Designing in a State of Crisis'. You can view them at