分布式经济 (Distributed Economy, DE) 是一种基于分布式地区、按照小规模、弹性单元的模式进行组织和相互协同连接的特定产出与分享模式 (Johansson, Sweden, 2005)。 实现分布式经济的核心是基于本地化和网络信息架构的服务提供模式，互联网、大数据、物联网等技术条件是促进地域经济和产业实现分布式、协同式发展的重要技术支撑。
In recent years, with the rapid development of information and communication technology, the economic and social structure gradually formed during the period of industrialization seems to have entered the embryonic stage of a fundamental change. "Distributed" is considered to be a more and more clear trend. The "distributed" idea and method is firstly proposed by computing science, linking up the scattered computing power and realizing the highly efficient computing network system. Similarly, new energy technologies broke through the traditional energy supply technologies that rely on large-scale power plants and central transmission stations, enabling the more flexible, lightweight, low-cost solar and wind energy widely diffused and used. Furthermore, the development of new mechanical technology and material engineering have promoted the development of localized, customized and small-scale product manufacturing and distribution system. The profound changes in these infrastructure and manufacturing industries, along with the widespread adoption of intelligent information technologies, have synergized into the emerging wave of "distributed economies".
As one of the youngest and most creative disciplines, design has undergone several transformations in just over a hundred years. From the earliest graphic design as the basic technical work, to the design of format and aesthetic style, to the theory of function defines form. In this process of transformation when the global economic gravity center transferring from manufacturing to service industry, the role of design is also protracting and extending: protracted into the research and development stage in order to create products and services which could meet the customer demands better, extended into the back operation in order to achieve a better maintenance of the product and service system. Design is slowly growing to be an important influence force in organizations, as well as engineering, technology and management.
Distributed Economies (DE) are “selective share of production distributed to regions where activities are organized in the form of small scale, flexible units that are synergistically connected with each other”. [JOHANSSON et al., IIIEE, SWEEDEN, 2005].The core of the distributed economy is the service delivery model, based on the localized and networked information architecture. Internet, big data, Internet of things and other technical conditions are the key elements to promote the regional distributed economy and to achieve a coordinated development. DE are in fact locally-based and network-structured offer models such us: distributed energy generation (e.g. mini-grid renewable energy generation), distributed production of information (e.g. wikipedia), distributed production of softwares (e.g. Linux), distributed production of (hardware) products (e.g. 3-D Printing), distributed design (e.g. open innovation/design and crowd-sourcing).
If properly designed, DE represent a promising opportunity to couple several benefits: economic ones (reduced cost of transportation, increased reliability), environmental (efficiency gains, reduced emissions) and socio-ethical ones (democratization of acces to goods and services, increased participation and empowerment of local economies and communities).
At present when the distributed economy is booming, what kind of role design would take? What are the specific needs of the distributed economy for design? Stagnating on the bottom of the industrial chain, and providing the affordable products and services directly to the end-users when the technology is mature enough? Or join in the practitioners to explore the future economic model, and connecting demand and supply, participating in shaping the future? In this International Seminar on Sustainable Product Service Systems and Distributed Economies, we will invite experts from industry, third sector, research and education institutions into a public discussion, which will orient to the future design education and research.