To manifest an area for the honour’s project, it is very inspiring to see which direction other companies are researching for. For everyone wanting to see exceptional ideas in the areas of interaction design, developing and futuristic approaches I can hugely recommend the MIT Design Lab. Their work is a concentrated reflection of our society, solving problems with smart innovations. Obviously, some of the concepts could be right out of a sci-fi world and not feasible for any company to mass produce, but nonetheless it is a solution. Their work is unrestricted, inspirational and above all user focused. It is their understanding of humans, the society we live in and the resulting problems which people are facing daily, without the economic pressure other companies have to face, which makes the MIT Design Lab to a treasure of exhilarating ideas. For the moment, the main topics they research into are: Architecture, Banking, Health, Home, Expo, Urban and Mobility. Reflecting society’s concern as well as desires about smart living, smart cities, how our health care can be improved and what the future mobility is going to be like, the Research Lab is giving perfect insights into what is truly important (and how surprising: none of this is about warfare with drones).
One additional, more design driven company where to go to for inspirational projects and ideas is the IDEO blog. Very different in their tone of voice and product execution, the blog is mainly aimed at aspiring designers, offering advice and insights into their way of working. Especially worth of note is the blog entry “19 Things We’re Dying to Redesign” which is asking the designers of IDEO what they would love to redesign if possible. And the result? Instead of things you would expect like the urge to design an even better-looking phone, the interviewees picked everyday products like razors, products for embarrassing situations, like bed pans and very intimate problems like adoption. In particular the project ‘Price tag’ is in my opinion very interesting. The designer Santiago Seira explains “I would like to redesign the cost of products and services to include environmental cost. This would allow consumers to factor in environmental impact as they make purchasing decisions. Currently, it is hard, if not impossible for consumers to understand the environmental impact of their lifestyles, which I believe is largely due to a lack of transparency on the corporate side, not a lack of interest on the consumer side.” This is a very inspirational project right there. Repurposing price tags to give more information, forcing the companies to reveal the economical footprint, is one of those changes which could massively affect the buyer’s behaviour instantly. Very much like labelling the origin of every egg shifted the consumer’s awareness, this small additional information could maybe even start a revolution in the way we buy clothes.
With all this in mind, I start to refine the areas I am currently investigating in. Fashion is one of the areas, there are many gaps and problems in the current fashion cycle, starting from why shoes are still giving blisters to the massive amount of waste produced by having 16 seasons if clothing in one year. The further areas are mobility and saving the sea, both areas very important to me. Further investigations and a few brainstorms will hopefully support me to come to a decision.