The winning team “Team Norway I” are ecstatic about their design victory. Photo: Claire Dennington
Oslo: A design team from Norway reigned supreme in a 24-Hour Design Challenge held last Tuesday. The winning idea was an innovative electronic board that can be connected to a mobile phone.
This challenge took place during the conference entitled “Innovation through Inclusive Design”, which was arranged by the Norwegian Design Council on 5 and 6 May at the DogA Centre in Oslo.
“This is the first time this competition has been held in the Nordic region,” says Onny Eikhaug, programme manager for Design for All. She was impressed by the high level of expertise shown in the projects submitted. The teams consisted of top designers from throughout the Nordic region, and competition was exceedingly fierce.
Five teams of designers – two from Norway and one each from Sweden, Denmark and Finland – were assigned the task of designing an inclusive product, service or environment. The project had to be submitted within the space of 24 hours, taking as its basis the needs of the elite user in each group.
The winning team in the category for best idea was “Team Norway I”, which consisted of designers from eight Norwegian design agencies, as well as a user representative in the form of Marit Sagen, aged 87. The winning idea ”Chalk” took as its basis the fact that many groups in society are prevented from accessing the flow of information due to poor sight or hearing.
“Chalk”, which was inspired by the old-fashioned stone slates, consists of a docking station for a mobile phone, and a screen. The screen displays text messages, images and other information provided by the mobile phone, thus making it easier to follow what is going on.
“It is actually strange that no one has ever thought of this earlier. There are probably too many complications regarding copyright issues between us to allow the team to continue developing this concept, but I wouldn’t rule out the fact that our idea will put others on the right track,” says a contented team leader Leif Isachsen, who is otherwise a partner at Kode Design.
He explains that the team hit on the idea early in the process, and that a lot of time was spent on removing things that were not important enough to be part of the solution. “I think we learned an awful lot working together in this way, and I think we all did a great job,” says Mr Isachsen.
The prize for best presentation was awarded to “Team Finland” for the project “Hands on demand shopping”, where the idea was to start a flexible service for the purchase and delivery of food.
The competition has rapidly gained increasing importance in international design environments. It was held for the first time in the year 2000 when it was arranged by the Helen Hamlyn Centre in London – which partnered the Norwegian Design Council for both the conference and the “24-Hour Design Challenge”. In 2005, the competition time was drastically reduced from five months to 24 hours.
Getting to know the customer
Design veteran and professor of ergonomic design in Stockholm, Maria Benktzon, was the competition’s patron this year. “Inclusive design is an instrument of innovation that helps you as a producer to win the competition for customers. By using inclusive design, you learn to get to know your customers,” she points out.
According to Maria Benktzon, more than half of the population of Sweden say they have problems opening product packaging, and 24 per cent encounter problems more than once a week. This is a problem that women over 60 years experience in particular. Screw caps on milk cartons are one of several answers to this problem.
“This makes it easier for people with special needs, but at the same time it is also a better solution for most people. This is the type of innovation we wish to inspire through the “24-Hour Design Challenge,” she explains.
This article was written by Pressenytt for the Norwegian Design Council.
Editorial responsibility for the content of this article lies with Pressenytt.