Author Archives: Heleen

Update Meeting I – Location ‘The Bunker’

Hej everyone,

We have booked CM122 aka 'The Bunker' for tomorrow's update meeting. You will find this room at the end of the corridor in Geocentrum (Villavägen 16). If you come from the Cemus library turn right, it is the last meeting room on the left side.

Please see the previous message regarding instructions and what we expect from you during this meeting. You will find the separate schedule above under 'Schedule & Info.' We have a lot of groups and hopefully a lot of work to discuss, so please make sure your whole group is there on time. E-mail us if you have any questions.

See you tomorrow!

Lakin and Heleen

Posted in Sustaianable Design, Sustainable Design VT14 | Comments Off on Update Meeting I – Location ‘The Bunker’

Update Meeting I – Schedule available

Hi again,

Next week we will have our first update meeting. The purpose of this meeting will be to share with us, and with one other group, what you have been doing so far. This is a chance to ask for feedback and to learn from another group's process. You are expected to actively engage in giving the other group feedback and ask questions. Try to think in advance if you have any specific questions or if you are stuck with something in your process. If so, you can bring this up during the meeting and you will be able to get the most out of it.

Next week you will have been working on this project for two weeks and we expect to be able to see this in the work you bring to the meeting (remember, approximately 10h/person/week). From different groups we have heard about plans to talk to users, experts, etc. this will be a great source of information and inspiration and we are looking forward to see what you have found. Bring actual results of your work so far, e.g. problem statements, mind maps, photos, interviews, the design needs, etc. Google Docs can be useful to manage your own group work, but they are horrible to communicate with other people. Make use of visuals during these meetings!

For each meeting we have scheduled 30 min. and since we have 9 groups we need to be strict with time. We will have 15 min for each group. You will have approximate 3 - 5 min. to share your problem statement and your results so far, the rest of the time will be for questions/discussions.

You will find the separate schedule for the update meeting above under 'Schedule & Info.' We will be in Geocentrum, but we will announce the exact location here on the course portal later.

Enjoy the Easter Weekend!

Heleen and Lakin

Posted in Sustaianable Design, Sustainable Design - Ecology, Culture and Human Built Worlds, Sustainable Design VT14 | Comments Off on Update Meeting I – Schedule available

Methods for Design Research and Creativity Techniques


As you have started to define your problem statement and plan your project you will soon start to explore your problem by doing design research. The following blog posts demonstrate how design research is done in the field and provide some advise to consider:

5 Keys to Successful Design Research

Design Research: What is it and why do it?

Keep in mind that design research is a lot more than a literature review, although a literature review could be included as well. It is very important to go out to talk to people as soon as possible and try to meet a variety of people, e.g. not just consumers/students/etc. but also talk to teachers/store owners/experts/... Apart from using literature and interviews there are many other methods you could use, for example you could do questionnaires, observations, use prototypes, analyze images, empathy exercises, etc. See what information you need most and how you could gather this the best way possible.

We have posted the creativity techniques we used during the weekend workshop above under Resources & Lectures. This is only a small selection of methods, see if you can find something new and interesting to try out with your group.

If you have any questions about design research, creativity techniques or anything else related to the project, please do not hesitate to contact us via e-mail. We will also be in the Cemus library to answer your questions next week Wednesday between 17:00 and 19:30.

Don't forget to submit your problem statement, project plan and book choice by Friday the 11th of April.

All the best,

Heleen and Lakin

Posted in Sustaianable Design, Sustainable Design - Ecology, Culture and Human Built Worlds, Sustainable Design VT14 | Comments Off on Methods for Design Research and Creativity Techniques

Feedback portfolios mini-design challenges

Hi everyone,

We are currently going over assignment II and III. You will receive individual feedback on your analysis of design as soon as possible, however we have decided not to send out individual feedback for assignment III, since we noticed we had less to say about these submissions. As general feedback to all of you we would like to say that we are impressed with the creativity you demonstrate in solving some of these problems. Many contributions are very imaginative, surprising, funny or they open up thinking for completely new directions. This will be very valuable during your group projects.

Furthermore we would like to advise the following:

- Draw your sketches on blank paper

- Trace pencil lines with black marker

- Make use of color (you can communicate a lot more information with color and it will be easier for your team members or other viewers to understand your ideas)

These are just very simple tricks which will have a big impact on the quality of your sketches and the information you can share.

Last, during your idea generation for the group project focus on quantity first, you can filter out the ideas which won't work afterwards.

Good luck!


Posted in Sustaianable Design, Sustainable Design - Ecology, Culture and Human Built Worlds, Sustainable Design VT14 | Comments Off on Feedback portfolios mini-design challenges

Preparations for Weekend Workshop and Workshop I

Hej everyone,

It is time to start the group design project. During the workshops we will introduce you to a design process and several design methods which should help you to get started with the project. We would like to ask you to prepare the following for the Weekend Workshop and for Workshop I (the preparations are the same for both workshops):

- Watch the following video: ABC Nightline IDEO Shopping Cart
- Read the articles in the course reader for the two workshops on time

It is important that you come prepared, because we will not watch the video in class, but we will refer to it and discuss it.

The Weekend Workshop will be from 12:00 – 17:00. We will provide some snacks and drinks, but make sure that you bring some of your own as well in case you get hungry.

For both workshops feel free to bring extra materials you would like to use, e.g. sketchbooks, markers, pencils, etc. which you think might be helpful in the process and which will help you to build prototypes. You will not need your laptop during the workshops and since we will be building prototypes, have drinks around, etc. we suggest that you leave it at home.

Please note that the workshops will be held in the Cemus Library in Geocentrum. Please ring the doorbell in case you cannot get in.

Also important: from now on we will have fewer joint sessions, which will give you more time to work on your design project. This makes it extra important to keep checking the course portal regularly to stay updated with the latest news about the course.

We are looking forward to some creative sessions and to see what you will design!

Heleen and Lakin

Posted in Sustaianable Design, Sustainable Design VT14 | Comments Off on Preparations for Weekend Workshop and Workshop I

Preparation Seminar II

Hej everyone,

Here is some extra information regarding Seminar II next week. We would like for all of you to be able to participate actively and to get the most out of this seminar, so make sure that you come prepared.

First of all (and again), it is very important that you have finished reading ‘Design for the Real World’ by Papanek. Also make sure that you are up to date with the articles in the course reader. During the seminar we will discuss several topics and you are expected to support your statements with references from the literature.

Second, you will form groups of 4 – 5 students for the design project which will start in April. We will try to form groups based on similar interests and ambitions. Therefore it is important that you will already think about subjects/problems that you are interested in. Try not to be too specific, since you will need to be able to find 3 - 4 other students who are interested in the same field. For example you can think about ‘Energy saving in Sweden,’ ‘Local food production,’ ‘Health,’ etc. If you already know that you really want to work with a specific method or theory, e.g. Biomimicry or Participatory Design, that will also be a good starting point.

  • Write down your keyword/keywords on a piece of paper and hand it in at the start of seminar.

Please keep in mind that we cannot guarantee that everyone will be able to work on the project of their first choice. We will all have to be a bit flexible here and make sure that everyone ends up in a good group. You will continue to work with this group until the end of the semester, so make sure that you actively participate during the seminar to find people with similar interests/ambitions.

  • The assignment description for the group project is now posted above under ‘Assignments.’ Make sure you read it before the seminar so you have a better idea of what is expected of you and you will have the chance to ask questions if anything is unclear.

Please note that this seminar will be from 17.15 to 20.00!

We plan to have another after-seminar in the Cemus Library. This could be a great way to get to know your new project group members a bit better, so feel free to join us after class!

Heleen and Lakin

Posted in Sustaianable Design, Sustainable Design - Ecology, Culture and Human Built Worlds, Sustainable Design VT14 | Comments Off on Preparation Seminar II

Important updates schedule, book list & extra mini-challenges

Hi everyone,

Thanks again for another creative session with Stuart Pledger last Wednesday. We hope these exercises will get you excited to start your own design project where you will have more time to explore more design methods and skills. At the start of the class we mentioned some important updates which we will summarize here:

New schedule
We have moved the final presentation to the 22nd of May from 10.00 to 14.00. The Sustainable Design class will participate in the Cemus Project Fair where you will present your design project on a poster along with your portfolio and perhaps you could also show your prototype/video material/demonstration/… Basically whatever it takes to communicate your design the best way possible. This fair will be visited by other Cemus students, guests and the examiner for this course: Prof. Tuula Eriksson.

Because the final presentations are now a bit earlier, we have moved Workshop II to the 14th of May.

On the 28th of May you will submit your final portfolio and individual reflection. We are planning to have a potluck dinner (maybe even a barbecue if the weather allows) to celebrate the end of the semester and the start of summer.

All changes are updated in the schedule. More information regarding the group project and final presentation will follow soon. Please note: we know some of you might have difficulties to attend the project fair due to other courses or work. If you feel like you cannot attend, please come talk to us and we will try to find a suitable alternative.

Book list
As explained at the start of the class, you will read a second book of your choice during the group project. We have posted a list of suggestions above under ‘Schedule & Info.’ Please note that you will need to select a book as a group, since it will provide information and inspiration for your group projects. Therefore you cannot already make a selection now, but please have a look to see if there is something you would be particularly interested in. We will form groups in two weeks during the second seminar.

Extra mini-design challenges
We realized that not all mini challenges provided during the lectures are suitable to solve quickly on your own. Therefore we have added a list of extra mini-design challenges above under ‘Mini Design Challenges.’ This should help you to complete this individual assignment. As the original description states you need to include at least 8 mini challenges in your portfolio. In your submission be clear about the challenges you have included.

Those are all the updates for now. As always, e-mail us or come talk to us if you have any questions!

Enjoy the sun!

Heleen and Lakin

Posted in Sustaianable Design, Sustainable Design VT14 | Comments Off on Important updates schedule, book list & extra mini-challenges

Biomimicry slides and e-mail addresses

Hej everyone,

As e-mailed to you earlier today, we will not post the slides of the Biomimicry lecture on the course portal. Instead we will e-mail the PDF to you for this one time. However, we now discovered that some of the e-mail addresses we are trying to use are incorrect. If you have not yet received the e-mail with the slides, please send us a message (to and we will send you the slides and save the correct e-mail address.

Again, do not distribute/copy/edit the content of the presentation without contacting Anna Maria Orru for permission first. These slides are for your own use only.

See you tonight!

Heleen and Lakin


Posted in Sustaianable Design, Sustainable Design VT14 | Comments Off on Biomimicry slides and e-mail addresses

Seminar I

Hej everyone,

After a couple very interesting guest lectures, challenges and readings these last weeks, we will take some time during next week’s seminar to look back and discuss what we have experienced so far. You will also have the chance to present and discuss the ‘Spaceship Earth’ assignment. In order to get the most out of the seminar we would like to ask you to prepare the following:

1. Bring a hard-copy (or the original) of your visualization for assignment 1. You will present and discuss this in smaller groups.

2. Think of a topic you would like to discuss further with the class. This has to be something related to what we have seen, heard or read about in class. For example it can be an article in the course reader, design examples used by the guest lecturers, a design method or theory, a book chapter from Papanek’s book, a specific mini-challenge, etc. Just make sure that this is something you can actually discuss; if you loved something, try to formulate why you think it was so great; if you are confused about something, try to formulate what you don’t understand; if you disagree with something, try to explain what your own thoughts are, etc.

Write this topic down on a piece of paper and hand it in to the course coordinators at the start of the seminar.

We would like all of you to be able to participate in the discussions, also when you are not discussing your ‘own’ topic. So make sure you are up-to-date with your readings and review the slides if you have missed a guest lecture.

The Sustainable After-Seminar
Some of the students have suggested to meet up after the seminar to have the chance to get to know each other a bit better. After class we will go to the Cemus library (follow the crowd if you don’t know where it is) for some drinks, snacks and fun conversation. We will get some (non-alcoholic) drinks and snacks for you, but the rest will be BYOE (Bring Your Own Everything).
Since you will be working more closely with each other later on in the semester, this will be a good opportunity to meet some new people!

Good luck finalizing your first assignment and remember: ‘If you think you can’t draw, too bad. Do it anyway’ (Tim Brown).

See you next week,

Lakin and Heleen

Posted in Sustaianable Design, Sustainable Design - Ecology, Culture and Human Built Worlds, Sustainable Design VT14, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Seminar I

Important request: Bring your laptop!

Hej everyone,

Next week, Wednesday the 19th of February, we will have a guest lecture by Anna Maria Orru on Biomimicry. She would like you to bring your laptop to class that evening to complete the mini-design challenge. We have had a sneak peak into the challenge and we are really looking forward to it (but we're not going to tell you what it is yet...).

Please share message this with your fellow classmates who may not be as good as you are in checking this portal regularly.

See you next week,

Lakin and Heleen

Posted in Sustaianable Design, Sustainable Design - Ecology, Culture and Human Built Worlds | Comments Off on Important request: Bring your laptop!