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Posts in category 'Europe'

19 October 2012

Lugano conference on digital experiences in smart cities

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On Saturday 27 October, the Italian-speaking Swiss city of Lugano will host the 4th edition of the UXconference.

The 2012 edition of the conference, which is organised by the Sketchin team, will focus on the relationship between digital services and people’s lives, with particular attention on the home and the city.

Speakers this year come from Switzerland, Italy, US and UK, and include Carlo Ratti from MIT’s Senseable Cities Lab, Stefan Klocek and Chris Noessel from Cooper, and Experientia senior partner Jan-Christoph Zoels.

Jan-Christoph will discuss supporting sustainable lifestyles.

17 October 2012

UX articles and dissertations from Denmark

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Mind Design, the Design Research Webzine of the Danish Centre for Design Research, contains a wealth of information, all available in English.

Here are some highlights:

Article
Companies: Design Research Works in Practice
Design researchers are developing new, applicable knowledge together with organisations in the private and public sector. That was the clear conclusion at the mini-conference on the impact of design research that the Danish Centre for Design Research held at The Black Diamond in Copenhagen on 17 September 2012. Here, Rambøll, Bang & Olufsen and other companies shared case stories about how collaboration with researchers is creating value for their organisations.

Article
Using Experience Design to Reach a Broader Audience for Classical Music
How can we use new, digital technologies to make classical music more appealing and accessible – especially for a younger audience? A group of symphony orchestras and educational institutions in Denmark and Sweden have set out to address that question in a large-scale research collaboration that has received funding from the EU’s interregional development fund.

Dissertation
Inviting the Materials Into Co-Design Processes
Materials are important actors in co-design processes. Therefore they should be invited in and assigned roles when co-designers organise projects, workshops or events, for example in the field of service design. That is one of the key conclusions in a PhD dissertation on the role of materials in co-design which Mette Agger Eriksen defended at Malmö University on 13 June 2012.
> Download dissertation (pdf)

Dissertation
Realising the Full Potential of Drawing
Drawing is a language in its own right that holds a large potential for idea development, says Anette Højlund, who defended her PhD dissertation on drawing and creation on 13 April 2012. In the dissertation she examines what she calls the dialogue between the drawing and the person drawing. In this conversation with Mind Design she concludes that the potential of drawing could be utilised far better, for example in visualising issues that reach across disciplinary boundaries.
> Download dissertation summary (pdf)

Dissertation
Hierarchies and Humour in the Design Process
Humour plays an important role in the design process, argues Mette Volf, who recently defended her PhD dissertation Når nogen ler, er der noget på spil (When someone laughs there is something at stake). In her dissertation she explores the design process as social construct. Humour is used, for example, to turn the formal hierarchies on their head.

Dissertation
PhD Dissertation Challenges Traditional Interaction Design
Interaction design can easily incorporate both a body element and an empathy element. This was demonstrated by Maiken Hillerup Fogtmann, who as part of her PhD project developed interactive exercise equipment for team handball players and computer-based play equipment for children. She defended her dissertation, Designing with the Body in Mind, on 23 January 2012 at the Aarhus School of Architecture.
> Download dissertation summary (pdf)

Article
Making Active and Innovative Use of Your Customer Base
Companies are keen to get in touch with their customers and users in order to gain new ideas for products and business potentials. A project headed by the Danish Technological Institute focuses on user types that are potentially valuable for business. The conclusion is that the key lies in getting involved, identifying the company’s needs and involving the right users at the right time in the strategic processes.

Article
Design as Innovation Facilitator
Design-driven innovation in companies can result in both actual product development and the development of processes and business strategies. That was one of the points made at the workshop Design Driven Innovation – Organizing for Growth held at the Kolding School of Design in December 2011. Furthermore, the role of the position of design in relation to the individual company or organisation was emphasised.

26 September 2012

Alok Nandi to chair Interaction14 – February 2014 in Amsterdam

Ixda_logo

The IxDA Board of Directors just announced that Alok Nandi will be Chair of Interaction14, to be held February, 2014 in Amsterdam in conjunction with Utrecht School of the Arts and Delft University of Technology.

Alok, an independent media writer/director and designer exploring narrative spaces in cross-media project, was selected from a short list of candidates following an open call that resulted in more than 30 qualified submissions.

Interaction14 will be the second IxDA conference to be held in Europe, following from the successful staging of Interaction12 in Dublin, Ireland earlier this year. It will take place in Amsterdam in February 2014.

Interaction13 will be in Toronto in January 2013.

Alok has named Yohan Creemers, Chair of IxDA Netherlands and a member of the Dutch bid team, as his Co-Chair for Interaction14.

Congratulations, Alok!

4 September 2012

MindLab, Denmark’s cross-ministerial innovation unit

mindlab

MindLab is a Danish cross-ministerial innovation unit which involves citizens and businesses in creating new solutions for society. It is also a physical space – a neutral zone for inspiring creativity, innovation and collaboration.

They work with the civil servants in three parent ministries: the Ministry of Business and Growth, the Ministry of Taxation and the Ministry of Employment. These three ministries cover broad policy areas that affect the daily lives of virtually all Danes. Entrepreneurship, climate change, digital self-service, citizen’s rights, emplyment services and workplace safety are some of the areas they address.

Working with user-centred innovation requires a systematic approach to what needs to be investigated plus a wide variety of methodologies. MindLab’s methodologies are anchored in design-centred thinking, qualitative research and policy development, with the aim of including the reality experienced by both the public and businesses into the development of new public-sector solutions.

Their work is based on a process model which consists of seven phases: project focus, learning about the users, analysis, idea and concept development, concept testing, the communication of results and impact measurement.

MindLab is instrumental in helping the ministry’s key decision-makers and employees view their efforts from the outside-in, to see them from a citizen’s perspective. They use this approach as a platform for co-creating better ideas.

MindBlog, MindLab’s blog, is very rich in content and worth delving into. The keywords are: citizen-centred innovation, anthropological methods, service design, public development, communication, idea and concept development, innovation strategy and cross-institutional collaboration.

21 August 2012

The first Informal Economy Symposium in Barcelona – October 12, 2012

THEIEECONOMY7

HOW WILL the informal economy impact the global business landscape?

The landscape of the Informal Economy is vast – from street vending to P2P networks, from piracy to ad-hoc businesses – it is the fastest growing sector of both emerging and developed markets. In fact, the global informal sector has been growing even in the face of economic recession.

  • If the global informal economy were a country, its GDP would be on the order of $10 trillion a year, which would make it the second largest economy on earth after the United States.
  • In Europe the informal sector amounts for 20% of the annual GDP. In developing countries in Asia and Africa this can go up to between 25 to 40%.
  • 1.8 billion of the total working force of the world – that means half of it – works in informal economy. This ratio is predicted to be 2/3 by 2020.
  • In countries like India, the ratio of informal workers can go up to 85% of the total working force.

This means that now is a critical moment for businesses to investigate the scope of the informal economy, and the challenges and opportunities it poses for them.

THE FIRST Informal Economy Symposium in Barcelona: October 12, 2012

A group of thinkers and doers, engaged in a variety of projects that challenge conventional views of the informal economy, are gathering for a day of keynotes and panels in Barcelona. Drawing inspiration from street-level ingenuity, alternative currencies, P2P networks, copy-cat innovation, crowdsourcing and other drivers in the informal economy, the symposium seeks to better understand the relationship between informal commercial practices and formal economic structures. A better understanding of this relationship is the first step towards new business models, innovation approaches, and collaborations within, across, and between the formal and informal.

Visit the Informal Economy website.

Confirmed speakers include

20 June 2012

Spaniards turn to barter, alternative banks to alleviate economic pain

 

Spanish institutions are in no shape to help struggling Spaniards, so they’re turning to alternative banks and ways of exchanging goods to get by, reports Andrés Cala in the Christian Science Monitor.

“The quest for economic alternatives has picked up in recent months. Neighbors are organizing online and on the ground to do what banks and government institutions no longer can or are willing to do. They are repopulating the countryside with communes; they are moving savings from traditional national banks to home-grown socially responsible entities; and they are connecting those in need with those who can help.”

Read article

31 May 2012

My life as me – to be and to change

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Ethnographic research by the Ericsson User Experience Lab, in collaboration with Trendethnography, aimed to discover unconscious behaviour related to health and to describe patterns of action.

The study looked at events or insights that resulted in change. These turning points are essential in our life stories as they give direction and emphasise the contrasts between before and after.

The post hints at an extensive study (which I would love to read), but in essence only contains some quick insights:
– The persons we met in the study often talked about their lives as two or more distinct parts
– Feelings of success and accomplishment are crucial to sustain an ongoing change
– People often try to make their change measurable and visible
– Routines are also important to maintain change

Read article

15 May 2012

Short report on EPIC Europe, a conference on ethnography research in industry

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Short report on the first European EPIC meeting by Anna Wojnarowska, UX researcher at Experientia:

Last Friday, 11th of May, around 100 members of the ethnographic research community in Europe gathered in Barcelona for the 1st European EPIC (Ethnographic Praxis in Industry Conference) meeting, to discuss the conditions of ethnographic practice in Europe.

The meeting concentrated on the specifics of European cultures and traditions from the point of view of the research industry. It was developed as a younger sister of the annual EPIC conference, which this year will be held in Savannah, USA, in October.

The meeting included lectures and workshops organized into three panels. The first one, “Mapping Ethnographic Practice in Europe” gave an overview on how the UX industry is evolving in Europe, including the presentation of changes taking place in the Italian market, by Experientia’s partner in charge of user research, Michele Visciola. Emerging innovative ethnographic methods, such as “netnography” and self-ethnography, were indicated as important developing trends.

The second panel, “Evolving Industry-Academia Collaboration”, focused on what can be done to combine the expertise of academics and professionals so that the two parties can effectively support each other’s’ practices and supplement peer knowledge. All the panelists agreed that creating a cooperative platform between the two parties would significantly contribute to research outcomes.

The last panel, “The Corporate Perspective” gave an insight into how the work of an anthropologist can be effectively communicated and implemented in corporations. The discussion ended with a vivid debate on how anthropologists could profit from the increasing amount of data on humans, which is constantly collected through various technologies. How could it be useful during research? Can it positively influence the quality of our work?

3 May 2012

Experientia at EPIC Europe meeting

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Experientia® partner in charge of user research, Michele Visciola, will be one of the speakers at the EPIC Europe one-day meeting at the Elisava Design School in Barcelona next week, on 11 May 2012.

The European meeting is the first of its kind for EPIC (Ethnographic Praxis in Industry Conference), and is designed to provide a space for anyone involved in the use of ethnographic research in industry to meet, and explore ethnographic practice from a European perspective. About 100 members of the ethnographic research community in Europe are expected to attend the event.

Michele will be talking on the ethnographic research arena in Europe and especially Italy, and current trends in methodology.

Experientia’s senior partner for user experience design Jan-Christoph Zoels will also be attending, together with Laura Polazzi and Anna Wojnarowska, respectively Experientia’s senior UX researcher and UX researcher.

22 April 2012

How user research informed IKEA’s Uppleva TV-furniture unit

uppleva_ppf

IKEA’s new Uppleva Smart TV-furniture unit was extensively shown at the Milan Design Week (which ends today), and on Core77 I wrote more about the interface design, but here some more about the user research that went into the product.

The user research consisted of two parts: in-home visits and an online survey. The IKEA press kit unfortunately provides very little information on the in-home visits, which is unfortunate, particularly since the results of the online survey are rather straightforward. I therefore hope to update this post later on with more details.

In-home visits
IKEA visits people in their houses and apartments all over the world. The visits were combined with interviews, and carried out in homes of different sizes, income groups, neighbourhoods, and people in a wide range of living situations and living conditions. Marcel Godfroy, who is the Uppleva project lead, writes:

“Fifty percent of IKEA customers wish to renew their living room. We have been visiting people’s homes around the world, and we understood that many people think it is difficult to find functional and beautiful solutions, which hide the clutter and integrate all media devices with the rest of their living room furniture. There simply has been a wish for something else – a complete solution for a new living room experience.”

Online survey
To find out more about how people experience their TV and sound furnishing solutions, IKEA combined the home visits with an online survey conducted in Sweden, Poland, Italy, France and Germany. These are the findings:

  • In all countries, the living room is the most common room to watch TV in. 9 out of 10 German and French consumers watch TV in their living room and almost as many Swedish and Polish. However, a bit fewer Ital­ians, 7 out of 10. (On the other hand, Italian consumers watch TV in the kitchen or the bedroom to a larger extent than consumers in the other four countries).
  • 3 out of 5 Swedish customers have a specific piece of furniture for the TV. 2 out of 5 in Poland, Germany and France, and a third of the Italians have a specific piece of TV furniture.
  • 3 out of 4 people would like less visible cables in their living room. These visible cables and cords ­ or rather the lack of opportunity to hide them ­are also the main reason why people feel dissatisfied with the media furniture today.
  • To Swedish and Polish consumers the media furniture not being stylish is another main reason for dissatisfaction.
  • A majority of the consumers in all five countries would like fewer visible cables.
  • 50% would like to see less of their technical gadgets.
  • 60% OF ALL homes have three remote controls or more. 1­2 out of 10 have only one re­mote control.

Top five reasons for dissatisfaction with living room TV furniture today:

  • Lack of opportunity to hide cords and cables.
  • Media furniture is not stylish enough.
  • Inflexibility.
  • Visible technical gadgets.
  • TV and furniture mis-match.

The online survey by market research institute YouGov comprised 5271 online interviews among a representative sample of the populations in Sweden, Poland, Italy, France and Germany as regards sex, age and region (men and women aged 18-­69 years). The survey was carried out 29th February to 5th March 2012.

It is quite remarkable how fast IKEA went from the online survey to the presentation of a fully functioning product at the Milan Design Week.

11 April 2012

Videos from Technology Frontiers, an event by The Economist Group

TechFrontiers

Over 250 business leaders from across Europe descended on London’s Inmarsat Conference Centre for Technology Frontiers, two days of thought provoking sessions and networking. Led by The Economist’s Digital Editor, Tom Standage, the event explored how advances in technology will transform our work, our lives, our world.

Some highlights (all links are videos):

Using technology to turn consumer behaviour into a business model

  • Systempathy: Can technology systems be good for empathy? [18:53]
    Charlie Leadbeater, a leading authority on innovation, strategy and education
    Consumer behaviour is one of the most powerful forces in business. This session looks at how consumer behaviour is being transformed by technology, and asks what impact this should have on business strategies. We will also look at how technology is driven by consumer needs and how these needs can create new business models. Charlie Leadbeater talks about whether technology is for us or are we for it?
  • How people influence each other in a digital world [18:12]
    Aleks Krotoski, Academic and Journalist – Technology and Interactivity
    Aleks Krotoski writes about and studies technology and interactivity. Here she talks about the impact of technology on consumers lives and how it enables them to become influencers.
  • The business of interactivity and collaboration [18:22]
    Bonin Bough, Vice President of Global Digital and Consumer Engagement, Kraft Foods

Adapting to major technology-driven market forces

  • What happens when personal data becomes something to leverage rather than protect [11:24]
    Cory Doctorow, Science Fiction Author, Activist, Journalist and Blogger, Co-editor, Boing Boing
    Technology has the power to dramatically change politics, demographics, social norms and values. This session looks at how technology shapes society and how companies adapt to this.
  • Panel discussion: How technology changes social norms [28:06]
    Cory Doctorow
    David Greenberg, Executive Vice-president, LRN
    Mark Stevenson, Author of “An Optimist’s Tour of the Future”
    In this, the first panel of the summit, Cory Doctorow, David Greenberg, and Mark Stevenson came together to discuss how technology has the power to dramatically change social norms and values.

Open Minds

  • The Internet of Things [23:16]
    Andy Hobsbawn, Founder and Chief Marketing Officer, EVRYTHNG
    The Internet of Things is on everybody’s tech trends radar for 2012 – could this be the year it becomes mainstream? Imagine the interactive possibilities when everyday objects communicate with each other and the people that use them. Your camera can tell you where and when to get the perfect shots, your guitar can help you find other musicians near you. Companies can augment physical products with digital services that deliver personalised experiences and apps for their individual owners.
6 April 2012

Earth Institute publishes first ever World Happiness Report

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The first ever World Happiness Report has been made public and states that our best chance at a contented life is to pack up and move to Scandinavia, writes Wired UK.

Published by The Earth Institute at Columbia University and co-edited by its director, the report was commissioned for a United Nations conference on happiness.

The report collated data from several different happiness measurement exercises worldwide to create a “life evaluation score”, which took in not just wealth but also social factors such as political freedom, strong social networks and an absence of corruption as well as personal criteria including good mental and physical health, someone to count on, job security and having a stable family life. The sources include the Gallup World Poll (GWP), the World Values Survey (WVS), the European Values Survey (EVS), and the European Social Survey (ESS).

After the figures were analysed, the report authors found that the “happiest countries in the world” are Denmark, Norway, Finland and Netherlands, where the average life evaluation score is 7.6 on a 0-to-10 scale. The least happy countries are Togo, Benin, Central African Republic and Sierra Leone with average life evaluation scores of just 3.4.

Read article (Wired UK)
Read press release (Earth Institute)
Download report

5 March 2012

Life 2.0 supporting elderly people’s independent life

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The Life 2.0 project is a EU funded project that aims at supporting elderly people’s independent life through a platform of geographical positioning and social networking services.

The project, which involves 13 core partners in 5 European member states, started in November 2010 and is now starting a pilot phase in which such applications will be tested in 4 pilot locations in Denmark, Italy, Spain and Finland.

The project is also involving elderly people in training centers (such as Kastanjegaarden in Aalborg, Denmark) community centers (such as Agora in Barcelona) and local libraries (as in Joensuu, Finland and Milano, Italy).

On his blog Nicola Morelli extracted a synthesis of the first results of the ethnographic analysis, the scenarios and the use cases.

The full deliverables and more information about the project are available at www.life2project.eu.

1 December 2011

Another Life Is Possible – Homage to Catalonia II

Homage to Catalonia II
“Homage to Catalonia II” is a documentary, a research project, a story of stories about the construction of a sustainable, solidary and decentralized economy.

The video, which is a project of Joana Conill, Manuel Castells and Àlex Ruiz of IN 3, the High School Institute of Research of the University Open to Catalonia, investigates new economic cultures, new forms of living and of understanding the economy. For the .

In particular, it studies the social impact of the economics|economies that do not follow the patterns of the market, where profits are the priority, and that have the satisfaction of the needs and the desires for the persons as a goal.

The video is a tool for research, not a finished or closed work, and is available for free under a Creative Commons license. This is the English version, there are also versions in Catalan and Spanish.

Watch video (Youtube)
Watch video (blip.tv)

26 October 2011

Energy consumption in the home

Energy consumption in the home
The Danish Alexandra Institute (see also previous post) published in 2009 an anthropological user study of needs, motivations and barriers in relation to energy consumption in the home.

It was part of the MCHA project (Minimum Configuration – Home Automation) that focused on IT solutions that help to optimise and reduce energy consumption in homes.

“This guide is a presentation of the results of a qualitative user study of patterns in user needs, motivations and barriers in relation to energy consumption and willingness to change consumption behaviour. The objective is to develop an energy control unit for the home which will help users to understand and control their energy consumption and ultimately encourage them to change consumption habits.

The guide contains a presentation of the MchA project, a project funded by the Danish Enterprise and Construction Agency, and the user involvement methods applied during the project. A result of the user study is for example the definition of four ‘user profiles’ and 11 relevant themes that are interrelated. In this guide we have decided to refer to these themes as ‘user voices’ because they express the different motivations, needs and barries that are at play in a more or less conscious inner dialogue in the users before he or she takes action. These motivations and barriers open a window of opportunity for an energy control unit. At the back of each user voice card, you will find details and recommendations for an energy control unit.

The recommendations are not exhaustive, and the intention is that different readers should contribute additional opportunities, depending on the context in which the cards are used.

The guide can be read from one end to the other. It can also be used as an easy-to-read tool that provides an insight into relevant themes in the users’ consumption behaviours. The guide is meant as an inspiration on how to respond to several user voices and user profiles at the same time and thus reflect on how these different and often conflicting user voices influence consumption behaviours in the home.”

Download guide

25 October 2011

Games, Life and Utopia conference

Gamification
Games, Life and Utopia is a half-day event in Pottsdam, Germany on 11 November, that is all about gamification, serious games, learning and play.

It’s a conference for service and interaction designers, for social activists, for artists, for developers and geeks, and of course for gamers.

“Gamification has garnered a lot of attention in recent years – both from academia and industry. At the event Games, Life and Utopia we will explore the potential and the boundaries of this emerging field. We will discuss the latest research results and discuss applications, not only in games, but also as tools for behavioral change. Our speakers offer a range of different perspectives on the topic – from hands-on experience with their own gamification products to a critical position based on psychological research. We will examine the operational mechanisms of games and their wondrous capabilities to produce experiences of hope, interest, enlightenment, and fascination.”

The key event organiser is Reto Wettach, a professor in physical interaction design at the University of Applied Sciences in Potsdam/Germany (and a former professor at Interaction Design Institute Ivrea).

30 September 2011

Truth, lies and the internet

Truth, lies and the internet
The internet is the greatest source of information for people living in the UK today. But the amount of material available at the click of a mouse can be both liberating and asphyxiating. Although there are more e-books, trustworthy journalism, niche expertise and accurate facts at our fingertips than ever before, there is an equal measure of mistakes, half-truths, propaganda, misinformation and general nonsense. Knowing how to discriminate between them is both difficult and extremely important.

Truth, Lies and the Internet, a report published by the UK think tank Demos, examines the ability of young people in Britain to critically evaluate information they consume online. It reviews current literature on the subject, and presents a new poll of over 500 teachers. It finds that the web is fundamental to pupils’ school lives but many are not careful, discerning users of the internet. They are unable to find the information they are looking for, or trust the first thing they see. This makes them vulnerable to the pitfalls of ignorance, falsehoods, cons and scams.

This pamphlet recommends that teaching young people critical thinking and skepticism online must be at the heart of learning. Censorship of the internet is neither necessary nor desirable; the task instead is to ensure that young people can make careful, skeptical and savvy judgments about the internet content they encounter. This would allow them to better identify outright lies, scams, hoaxes, selective half-truths, and mistakes, and better navigate the murkier waters of argument and opinion.

Download report

> see also this short video report by the BBC

27 September 2011

Low2No Camp: entrepreneurial ideas to activate Low2No vision

Low2No
Article by Experientia® collaborator Irene Cassarino, with additional input from Jan-Christoph Zoels.

 

How do you create community services and business models for a carbon neutral building block before the buildings stand?

Thirty Finnish entrepreneurs came together last Tuesday (20 September 2011) in Helsinki to present innovative business and service models for a carbon neutral to negative building block in the Helsinki docklands Jätkäsaari.

Campers are urban enthusiasts that were challenged to develop entrepreneurial projects around sustainable living in a urban environment – with the ultimate aim of activating the Low2No vision beyond the perimeter of the 22.000 sqm of the Airut* block on Jätkäsaari.

The Low2No Camp was sponsored by Sitra, the Finnish Innovation Fund, and supported by Demos Helsinki and Experientia.

 


The Low2No block will be ready by Summer 2013. The foundations are not yet there, but excavators are already working to make the site ready. The first buildings of the Jätkäsaari neighbourhood are already under construction.

(Click images to enlarge)


On Tuesday afternoon, the Campers presented their concept ideas to an audience of stakeholders, experts and possible investors.

Indeed, while for us (the designers) the event had the bittersweet flavour of closure, for the Campers it was just the beginning of a possible entrepreneurial path. Their adventure started in June, when – along with the Demos Helsinki crew – they sustainably travelled (boat + train) to the Maker Lab in Berlin. Refreshed and excited through the intense and multicultural brainstorming sessions, they came back to Helsinki with five preliminary ideas to be grown into concept and eventually entrepreneurial proposals.

 

The Low2No Camp final showcase event took place at the Jätkäsaari information centre, where future developments of the site are depicted through information panels and interactive screens.

(Click image to enlarge)


When we met them after their Berlin campaign, the five teams of Campers were so excited about their oversea experience that helping them to boil down their ideas into viable concepts has been at the same time amazing and challenging.

Not all propositions survived the Summer break and – as always happens when voluntary effort and self motivation are the main drivers of action – the geometry of teams also changed. They all have another job after all, as the majority of budding entrepreneurs have, and some people’s availability decreased when the new season started.

 

Demos and Experientia® contributed to support Campers' concept development from idea generation to the 10 minutes pitch.

(Click image to enlarge)


The five ventures presented at the final events were – in brief:

1. 100 ways to Eden is a social enterprise that makes urban food production as integral part of our everyday life.

The carbon footprint of an industrialised food production is enormous, not to mention other negative impacts on nature, social environment and health.

The most effective way to improve the situation is to turn urban food consumers into urban food producers. This change will be possible through intensive research, education, development and networking. There is a greener and better future for all.

The first projects that will make the “shift to Eden” start to happen within next few years include:

  • Multiple “Laaritalkoot”: service of small scale planters, greenhuts, composters, aquaponics (see below) etc.
  • Experimental “Green lighthouse” serves as community and information hub.
  • Edenet: Web services for information, discussion, networking, support from the growing urban community of gardeners.

Team members: Pinja Sipari, Kirmo Kivelä, Kaisa Nirkkonen, Tomi Oravainen, Minna Ritoluoma

Minna Ritoluoma presenting 100 ways to Eden

(Click image to enlarge)


2. Aquaponics Finland designs and commercialises hydroponic irrigation and gardening systems. Aquaponics aims at replacing traditional issues surrounding access to food by essentially bringing scalable farming into the home, into the courtyard – including a warehouse scenario that in addition to supporting local food demands, handles logistics for local aquaponics users.

The project (slide presentation) will enable a considerable decrease in carbon impact due to reduced transportation, processing of food & logistics, with the added benefit of having fresh organic food grown within the fiber of the community.

Team members: Antti Kirjalainen, Peter Kuria

 

3. Pukuhuone.fi – ”Dressing Room” is an ecological style guide which believes in style before fashion, sharing before ownership and storytelling before ignorance.

It brings together local designers and artisans, vintage shops, flea markets, tailors and shoemakers, laundries and repair services to create a platform which leads the consumer to dress up with a bit more love and care.

On a larger scale pukuhuone.fi aims to slow down fashion, speed up sharing and make old (recycled, shared, something with a story) more valuable than new (anonymous, with no personality, silent).

Pukuhuone.fi fights against faceless mass production, poor quality materials, information overload and fast fashion which creates needs people don’t really have. Style will save us but we need good storytellers to make that happen.

Team members: Hanna Linkola, Outi Ugas, Anniina Nurmi, Minna Ainoa, Laura Puromies, Outi Pyy, Arto Sivonen

 

4. School of Activism is a world-traveling series of urban activist workshops and festivals: a platform for those who shape our urban future.

Two groups of 30 selected participants – activists, producers, innovators, artists, and allround urban mavericks from all around the globe – come together in a new city each year for two weeks worth of creative sessions, lectures by urban luminaries, and unforgettable urban interventions.

The School organises workshops both from pioneering mavericks of old and trailblazing innovators of the present, followed by sessions that put that breadth of knowledge and inspiration into practice to solve urban problems.

School of activisms offers the chance to solve actual problems in some of the host city’s suburbs: with plenty of time to chat on cool new ideas, get to know each other, get a glimpse into local happenings and places, and ask the questions people were always keen on asking.

Team members: Heta Kuchka, Arto Sivonen and Olli Sirén

Heta Kuchka presenting School of Activism
(Click image to enlarge)


5. Ab Hukkatila Oy – Ab Waste Ltd does toward space what internet did toward information.

Hukkatila is an development company with an eye on urban places that are empty, underused, or shunned but do have potential because of their location, demand for certain functions in the area, their unique design, unintentional and unseen attractiveness and functions. Development strategies focus are temporary usage, mixed use or ‘life after urban death’ scenarios.

The goal is to create more enjoyable urban environment, regenerate the local communities, promote mixed use of places and develop replicable concepts of synergistic space and property sharing.

Hukkatila exploits sophisticated place-bound architecture, integrated with urban food and energy saving ecosystems, open source apps for built environment, in order to make unlikely processes and collaborations happen.

Team members: Eve Astala, Virkkala Inari, Inari Penttilä, Jaakko Lehtonen, Lari Lohikoski

 

Camper Eero Yli-Vakkuri also took the chance to present No Chair Design Challenge, the provoking challenge to worldwide designers not to design any chairs for all 2012.

Are you a designer? Then look at the tutorial (video).

During their presentations Campers collected plenty of audience feedback. Next steps include a colloquium with an experienced VC and business mentor from Sitra to advice teams business and managerial approach.

Good luck to all from Experientia!

 

* The Airut Block

The block which is the result of the Low2No project will be called Airut.

Airut signifies a “forerunner” and “messenger” in Finnish, thus it is conceptually easy to link to the idea and spirit of Low2No. The block aims to be a forerunner in sustainable building and construction, as well as to spread and promote the ideas of the Low2No model of sustainable urban living.

Airut is an old Finnish word which has Germanic roots. It has been used in spoken language for about 1000 years, and was introduced in written language for the first time in 1745.

It is not commonly used in Finnish spoken language today, thus it has a fresh sound to it. Also, it can rarely be found in brand or company names.

 

Links:
Low2No website
Low2No Camp
Profiles of Campers
Low2No campers facebook page
Demos Finland website

17 September 2011

Low2No project wins Holcim acknowledgement prize

Holcim
Medium rise timber office building in low-to-no carbon emissions district, Helsinki, Finland, wins Holcim acknowledgement award for sustainable construction.

The Low2No design team led by Sauerbruch-Hutton, Arup and Experientia® were recognized for the multi-story timber construction headquarter for Sitra, the Finnish Innovation Fund.

The office and incubator building “is part of an inner-city building complex that augments the urban redevelopment of the former Jätkäsaari docklands in Helsinki. The aim for the entire building complex is to establish a “sustainable living” and “low-to-no carbon emission” performance through participatory planning and design methods.

The SITRA Headquarters at Low2No combines a variety of technical features that enhance user awareness and reduces weighted energy use to 45kWh/sq m per year, less than half the average Finnish requirement for heating and cooling. Civic amenities, including an auditorium, library and café, create a welcoming atmosphere for the public.”

Comment of the Holcim Awards jury Europe:
In terms of its construction and program, the office building is commended by the jury for achieving the aspired principles of transferability, transparency and inventiveness. All of the construction, even the cores and the prefab façade panels will be entirely in Finnish timber – globally an innovation for a 26m high 6-storey office building. Beyond these measures, the project has a successful holistic approach towards its design, connecting social, ecological, aesthetic and economical demands on a high level and it is thus an outstanding example of how sustainable architecture can be achieved on a larger scale.

 
The three winning projects in the European region stand out through a high degree of visionary place making and provoke our rethinking of the public spaces and existing buildings.

Gold prize went to Realities United from Berlin, Germany for an urban Flussbad on the Museumsinsel in the centre of Berlin.
“The Flussbad urban plan will remediate an area rich in cultural heritage by transforming an under-utilized arm of the River Spree into a natural 745m-long “swimming pool”. The project will form a swimming zone equivalent to 17 Olympic-sized pools – and directly improve the quality of urban life and the ecology of the waterway.” A 1.8ha reed bed water filtration system with sub-surface sand bed filters located before the swimming area purifies the river water. The beauty of this project lies not only in the reuse of public waterways for relaxation but also adding a sense of social placemaking into a historic and status laden city center.

Holcim Awards Silver went to a project that converts a former factory into a new City Hall and Civic Center for the city of Oostkamp in Belgium by not only recycling the main structure and materials but also re-using the space itself and its technical infrastructure. Holcim Awards Bronze was presented to a smart transformation plan for a viaduct on a bypassed section of an expressway into vertical homes, using an existing structure for a completely different use that brings new economic potency to Southern Italy.

The Holcim Awards Bronze was awarded to a collaborative project by Philippe Rizzotti Architects, Samuel Nageotte Architecture and Off Architecture, all based in France, which plans the conversion of one of the viaducts on a recently bypassed section of an expressway into vertical homes.

Four Acknowledgement prizes were given to highly innovative, but more pragmatic build solutions and material research. [Aside from the Low2No project (see above),] they “were allocated [...] to German firms Barkow Leibinger Architects, Schlaich Bergermann und Partner, and TRANSSOLAR Energietechnik for their collaboration on low-cost apartments in Hamburg that use innovative techniques and materials including pre-fabricated lightweight-concrete elements with recycled foamed glass as an internal aggregate.

Acknowledgement prizes also went to Dutch architectural offices De Stuurlui Stedenbouw, and Atelier Gras for their cottage garden structure that creates green recreation spaces in dense urban areas, and to a production technology project for fabricating non-repetitive free-form cast-on-site concrete structures using re-usable and digitally-produced wax formwork by Gramazio & Kohler, Architecktur und Digitale Fabrikation – ETH Zurich in Switzerland.”

21 August 2011

A focus on qualitative research in France

Paris
In a series of blog posts Rebecca S. Kuchar of Sylver Consulting illustrates the challenges and rewards of orchestrating global and multi-cultural research.

A first focus is on France and Rebecca talks with Caroline Baker, founder and managing director of European Market Research Associates (EMRA). Born and raised in the U.K., Caroline is a top-notch qualitative researcher who moderates in both French and English, and in the interview she explores some of the language and cultural issues she has observed over the past 28 years that she has been living and working in France.

A recommended read.

Part 1 | Part 2