by Stefano Mirti

In the English language, the word “design” can be used as a noun. A plan or drawing made to show the appearance and functioning of some kind of object (furniture, building, garment etc.) before it is built or produced.Design is a language

Then of course, “design” can be a verb: “to design”. In this extent we can design a building, an exhibition, a journey, our own life.

The design for a lamp. To design a lamp. A design lamp.

Too many lamps, let’s get back to design.

It could be useful to approach “design” from a different point of view. “Design” as an attitude, “design” as some kind of special glasses to view the world, to view life, to view ourselves. Design as a cognitive pattern to generate new meanings, new relations between existing meaning, modifying our perceptions and understanding.

To achieve this is quite a radical goal, but nonetheless, it is very simple.

It’s a switch. A switch that can be turned on or kept off. If you set it on, you enter another world. And this is what we like the most about “design”: when it takes us into magic realms. Feeling like Alice going through the mirror, entering some kind of fascinating (and spooky) wonderland.

Design is a language. Design as a language, as if it were philosophy or mathematics. As if it were music. Learning to play a musical instrument does not necessarily imply living the life of a professional musician. Learning to play music allows us in first instance to live better, add layers of meaning to our existence.

Design to transform the world, but to transform the world, the first thing to do is to transform ourselves. Are you ready? Then enrol in Design 101 here.

Stefano Mirti is an architect, designer, teacher etc. etc. He is one of the partners of Id-Lab in Milan, responsible of all the design activities and one of the instructors of iversity's MOOC "Design 101".

Read more


iversity is buzzing with creative collaboration and intellectual exchange about new MOOCs. Today, the kick-off workshop is in full swing. Our MOOC Fellowship winners and their teams are currently convening at the Stifterverband office in Berlin, amongst others with our Italian Design 101 team completing their road trip (check @stefi_idlab for some hilarious en-route updates).

The workshop marks the beginning of the production phase of ten new, unique MOOCs. As iversity plans how to best offer higher education in the digital age, fellows are forming a community and together shaping, revising, and solidifying their course concepts.

Together, they will “revolutionize how we use the Internet,” said iversity CEO Marcus Riecke as he welcomed our professors. iversity is orienting our fellowship teams, outlining how MOOCs work, the support their iversity partnerships provide, and different ways to teach and assess online and attract students to courses.

The fellows, however, take center stage, sharing their course components and higher education ideas- and their razor-sharp intellect over shared meals and downtime. 

Read more