Friday, May 13, 2011

Studying Sustainability at the Danish Design Center

We visit the Danish Design Center mostly for their on-going exhibit of iconic items from the past. As we wander through, my cousin points out the dishes and telephones and other objects that she has owned over the years.

Kristin & Guy's photo

Sadly, my own homes have had much less modern design sense. (And neither of us are quite sure what to make of that car.)

The rest of the museum has exhibits on the theme “Challenge Society: Designing the Simple Solutions to a Complex Future.” The idea is that good design can help solve the world’s problems – with design being broadly defined to include processes and systems development.

I like the idea of applying the concepts of good design (“design thinking” is their term) to the development of a process. The exhibit describes a design-driven approach characterized by being holistic, user driven, future-oriented and multidisciplinary. Sounds familiar. . . I think this should qualify as paid work time!

Equally relevant to my job is the “Challenge Waste” exhibit which asks whether (and how) design can contribute to behavioral changes that would reduce waste and pollution.

It’s a fascinating exhibit that concludes with the answer to the question I’ve had ever since arriving in the city: Why is Copenhagen so dirty? I expected this to be a sparkling clean, green place and instead am finding an unexpectedly dirty, grimy place awash in cigarette butts. Ugh! The streets of Rome were cleaner. (The streets of almost any place I’ve been in the last few years were cleaner.) Now I learn 1. that I’m not imagining this and 2. designers have are working to develop messaging as well as physical changes in the environment (more and better trash bins, for example) to alter behavior. It’s a fascinating look into an everyday (and unexpected) facet of Danish culture.

1 comment:

  1. Design thinking has reached the Twin Cities - http://www.thelinemedia.com/features/cocodesign051612.aspx

    One of the great things about travel is the opportunity to discover new ideas before they get to where I live.

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