For two weeks, 50 international design students have been working intensively in cooperation with Danish businesses and a municipality at DesignCamp2017. All designs and innovations implemented as business solutions have one thing in common – design thinking. This is what the participants at DesignCamp2017 in Kolding, Denmark have been learning about.
The two-week DesignCamp2017 trains students from all over the globe in disciplines such as contacting people, locating tacit knowledge and finding exact user needs. Students also learn how to improve their pitches to stakeholders.
The focus of this year’s DesignCamp was ‘Sustainable Action and Entrepreneurship’. Thirteen student groups had to work with a public or private organisation to resolve a challenge within Kolding Municipality, using design thinking to grasp the (environmental) challenges.
‘Focusing on the four sub-themes of learning, living, moving and eating and based on current observations and future scenarios, we want to create specific projects that activate meaningful sustainable changes. It is becoming increasingly clear that we as designers need to create actions and not just ideas,’ says Lykke Bloch Kjær, head of Design School Kolding’s sustainability lab and DesignCamp2017.
DesignCamp17’s ‘laboratory’ is the city of Kolding – a city with 57,000 people, institutions and companies that can be mirrored around the world. Working specifically with one city, DesignCamp2017 aims to create real design solutions that can be scaled to meet the world’s collective sustainable challenges.
‘Kolding Municipality is our test area where our pilot projects are carried out. The students are collaborating with a variety of partners, comprising everything from a chain of timber merchants to a local co-living commune near Kolding. The challenges that need to be solved all include sustainable traits, while our solutions must be scalable, movable and adaptable,’ adds Lykke Bloch Kjær.
Pushing Youngsters in a Green(er) Direction
One of the student groups, group 3, concentrated on the sub-theme of learning, encouraging children to be more aware of their environmental footprints from a relatively young age to influence future habits. This push towards a more sustainable lifestyle was achieved by contacting and interviewing the teachers who deal with children every day, gaining insights such as not needing to use text.
‘Kids at the age of three to six understand visually, and we were told that we couldn’t use any type of writing or numbers. Therefore, we added colours to different types of pictured rubbish to teach the children how to sort it – paper, plastics, organic waste or glass – in a fun, yet enlightening, way,’ says Daniel Broner, who was in group 3 with Shahmir Khan and Lise Cognard.
When group 3 tested the game in a kindergarten, the feedback was very positive, and the three design students will now try to develop the project further. Influencing children might seem to be an abstract way to deal with sustainability, but group 5’s project had a more straightforward recycling concept.
Recycling Building Materials for the Better
Group 5, consisting of Lea Mose Svendsen, Jerry Estié, Cornelia Oczycz and Wasif Hussain, came up with the idea of reusing building materials from old construction sites in Kolding Municipality. They also came up with a shop concept – Stark Mere, to be run in conjunction with the local department of the Danish timber merchant chain STARK.
‘The Stark Mere shop will offer recycled building materials in nice surroundings, empowering the shopping experience. Conventional second-hand stores usually present their merchandise and articles in a messy, dusty way. We seek to change this with the Stark Mere concept,’ says Lea Mose Svendsen.
Every year, Design School Kolding in Denmark hosts a two-week camp where master’s degree students from top design schools around the world are joined together with companies, designers, researchers and others with an interest in design to address a current challenge that relates to sustainable innovation.
Watch videos about the project in the image slider at top of the article.