In China, a new movement has been launched by the central government, the Harmonious Society, which came into being after a significant decision to shift from economic development to sustainable development. Confronting pressing problems (environmental as well as social) while developing visions of society (a harmonious society), it is an appropriate moment to promote the design research and action agenda for sustainability in China. Social innovation towards a sustainable 337lifestyle is one of the keys that can open the door to a sustainable and harmonious society, indicated by both top-down and bottom-up initiatives. One milestone was the ‘International Conference on Social Innovation’, the first-ever international social innovation conference, organised by the British Council (2007), the Young Foundation and China Center for Comparative Politics and Economics (CCCPE) on 16–17 October 2006, in Beijing. Subsequent to this conference, social innovation has been widely promoted by government and institutions.