DesignCamp makes a difference

In just two weeks 47 students from around the world have turned design challenges into real concepts for social innovation

On Friday 9 October, the two-week intense design process culminated, when 47 Camp students from top design schools across the world revealed their social innovation solutions at Design School Kolding.

And with reactions like "Amazing". "Brilliant". "Blown away". "We got a lot more than we could possible have expected". "I cant' believe they managed to capture the spirit of our company in only four days" - well, the DesignCamp2015 must be said to be a success! 

Small, to the point films (check out the video!), posters and prototypes presented the student solutions to challenges formulated only days before with collaborating partners EasyFood, Kolding Havn, Mungo Park, Our Daily Heroes, Isabella Fortelte Danmark, Kolding Hotel Apartments, Lammhults Biblioteksdesign, MesseC, Nord Gourmet, Olino and Syddansk Kvæg.

New solutions
One of the companies, Easyfood, received a concept which can potentially reform the company culture: a system that brings together management and production employees as well as users from Kolding’s Folkekøkken (a local soup kitchen) to engage in conversation.

Another local company, Isabella, had no recycling programme for used awnings two weeks ago but now they do! The design students have set up a cycle where used awnings are reused as materials to create bags, which are made and sold by less fortunate individuals, e.g. homeless. They can support themselves and Isabella will also get a return for the cost they incurred AND a new narrative for their products.

Lammhults has a new system, Comma, which enables them to make the transition from library shelving and accessory provider to a pro-active company, which addresses social needs with their products. In short, the system invites the users to become community makers and influence the products and spaces they are using through facilitated co-creation workshops with designers and experts.

We create new ways of designing
Barnabas Wetton is long-time teacher and facilitator of the DesignCamp, and there is no doubt in his mind that the Camp makes a real difference:

-One of the things that is genuinely great about Design School Kolding is that we actually try in reality to do what we say we want to do: We want to form partnerships to understand new ways of designing and designing into new paradigms. This is what this is about. We’re trying to do this. And we’re also trying to engage with a global world and that’s an ambitious thing too because cultures are different and Denmark doesn’t really have an idea of how strange it is until you start seeing it through Indians and Americans and all the other people.

-So the ambition of the camp is a really exciting thing to work with and now what has to happen is that it has to be matched by the ambition of the companies and interestingly very often companies in the provinces are more innovative and have a greater number of fire brands who really want to do something than you find in large companies. So it becomes a really interesting mix. So at the DesignCamp you have small companies that dare look into something very, very different, and you have an institution that dares and follows through on making new routes, Wetton says.

Combining social innovation with design methods of research, ideation, prototyping, etc., the students have designed anything from structure and spaces to actions, experiences and identity; design concepts that are ready to be taken to the next level.

Digital publication
DesignCamp2015 will be published digitally later this year with conference films, projects and reactions. Remember to check it out on Design School Kolding’s website.

DesignCamp2015 is organised in collaboration between Design School Kolding, D2i - Design to innovate, Syddansk Vækstforum, TREFOR and the EU Social Fund.