Credit: @simonshim

Last month, hundreds of industry leaders, humanists, dreamers, and changemakers united together for a virtual festival of deeply reflective conversations, workshops, and film. The immersive four-day event compelled us to consider the gloomy and hopeful signals and forces of our times and the agency required of every one of us to reclaim our future.

Those who joined from Fjord Berlin reflected on the most poignant questions that both inspired philosophical discussions and offered stark reminders of the opportunity and responsibility we as designers have to ensure our work serves as a catalyst for positive change. …

We knew this would come. If we weren’t able to autonomously make the necessary change to our exponentially damaging behaviour, a greater force would do this for us. You only need to step a meter towards a window, observe the stark empty streets, to feel the fresh reality whip our naive, but guilty, faces. The question is, how has humanity reacted in the face of indefinite uncertainty?

As our seemingly luxurious lifestyles fade into black, we’re left in isolation to reflect on what is really luxury, and what it means to be human. We can only compare the response to the crisis of our neighbours, slow or fast, by what is broadcast through the stream of instagram stories and the unexpectedly frequent FaceTime’s with our loved ones separated by land, seas, or even our nearest walls. Suddenly, our phones really are our window to the world outside. …

We encounter unconscious biases through every interaction we experience each and every day. They are a part of our universal psyche and have a both positive and, more often, highly negative presence in our inherited and learnt toolset that help us understand the the complexities in the world around us.

Artwork by Jennifer Dettmering and Katja Budinger

But how does our environment shape our biases, that in turn shape our perception of the objects and people we interact with, and ultimately, our identities?

Phenomenology is the study of structures of experience, or consciousness. This involves the observation of things as they appear in our experience, or how we experience these things, from the subjective or first person point of view.

The data that is collected through phenomenological research is termed as the “data of the conscious experience”, or “capta”. Capta requires a much deeper and contextual understanding of what is being researched. …

The biggest design flaw in human history, one that affects half of the human population, has entered our public discourse. From mobility and car safety, to medical products, technical devices, urban planning, government and politics, women have been disregarded in favour of the male default.

Artwork by Jennifer Dettmering

In design research, we use this male default as a basis for all of our assumptions. But what are the consequences of this absence of women in design? In her book “Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men”, Caroline Criado-Perez exposes shocking examples of how this bias ranges from how we test the safety of cars, using only a male model in the drivers seat, to how we educate, diagnose and treat heart attacks based on medical research on male symptoms. …

How can we challenge our design processes to encourage the freedom to explore and express with confidence, and ultimately create original and memorable experiences?

Today we are swimming in a sea of homogeneity — where the speed to market is valued over beauty in the detail. But where does this leave us as we compete in a world of sameness? Do the people we serve, in the products and services we create, feel considered and cared for in our expression of ideas? And can innovation really happen, when creativity is stifled and de-prioritised in an effort to streamline and iterate fast?

We believe that experimentation should be at the core of our process. A mindset. A philosophy. A culture.

Experimentation is by definition the action or process of trying out new ideas, methods, or activities. We can also consider this a state of mind — open, curious, provocative, tenacious. In our design process, it requires the ability to overcome failure. Try, fail, learn. Try, fail, learn. Until we succeed, or gracefully wave a white flag, pivoting to the new.

Design without intention

We are conditioned by the examples around us, as well as our accrued work experience evolved through the pressures of deadlines and…

The edges of physical and digital experiences are blurring. And so should the way we design.

Illustration by Kris Sauerbrey

The principles of service design thinking can be applied to the physical environment around us. Designing space to accommodate for team culture, rapid organisational change, in conjunction with the power of technology and digital experience, can create an outcome where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Space is the body language of a company

If we are able to track and observe the real use of space, we can meaningfully use data to make informed choices over the future iterations of our environments, to create better spaces and experiences for people.

In order to test a…

Sustainability is high on the agenda of global governments, and in response to the climate crisis, individuals are self-educating to guide choices in what they buy, how they move, and what they consume. But this evolution in thinking is yet to reach the workplace.

Illustration by Kris Sauerbrey

How can we be more mindful, aware and efficient of our own consumption within an organisation? And how can we make more informed, conscious decisions about how we use our space, tools and resources to contribute to global sustainability efforts?

Organisations vary in size, environment and employees, and often use multiple suppliers of resources. In contrast to our consumption on an individual basis, businesses, and their employees, are often very far removed from the capture and visibility of consumption data of what we produce, use and dispose of.

We cannot act upon what we cannot measure.

To understand our behaviour…

Abi Golestanian

A visual designer, thinker and dreamer, currently residing in Berlin and working at the Design and Innovation Consultancy FJORD

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