What Design Can Do: Refugee Challenge

Over the past months STBY has been collaborating with What Design Can Do. Together, we created the 5 design briefs for the What Design Can Do Refugee Challenge.

We are overwhelmed to see that 631 ideas from 70 different countries have entered the challenge. It is interesting to see that many of the contestants had clearly immersed themselves in the issue and took the complexity of the situation into account in their designs. By now 25 fantastic proposals have been shortlisted.

One of the shortlisted entries is ‘What if you wore their shoes‘, a video wall installation that digitally mirrors passers-by and puts them in the shoes of a refugee. We found this a really powerful approach to let people empathise with an unknown situation. This is what we aim for as well when we do research for our clients: to connect them to their stakeholders through engaging and rich visual materials.  

Another little gem is ‘Covers to chase away monsters’. A very simple and elegant idea that helps children in emergency centres to create a safe personal space away from home. Have a look at these and 23 other ideas here.

Geke and Marie will be presenting at the WDCD conference at the Muziekgebouw aan ’t IJ on Friday July 1st. They will explain how design research led to the creation of the design briefs, and discuss the value of doing design research in this type of projects. At the end of the day the five winners of the What Design Can Do Refugee Challenge will be announced. Good luck to all finalists!

Rigorous documentation: A research superpower

When research activities get going in earnest, a lot is produced. If treated too casually, the mass of audio files and transcripts, flip-overs and mini-posters full of post-its, photos, interview notes and feedback mails can quickly turn into a massive hairball that no-one can unpick.

Where do people fit into the Internet of Things?

There are now more things connected to the internet than the number of people in the world. Many of these devices are inside our home, from Bluetooth speakers to smart coffee machines and fridges. In the future, even our plates and curtains might be hooked up to the internet. The house will then resemble a lab, in which we are the studied subjects. How much alcohol do we drink? How often do we wash our hair, or cut our nails? Are we snacking more than usual? Spending longer in front of the mirror? Maybe the homes of the future will know.

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Lead… and let go

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Pushing the Boundaries

The following is an excerpt from our forthcoming publication Viewfinders: Thoughts on Visual Design Research (2016). Visual design research…