Edit 2011: dig

This is Edit for the 10th time around, but the for the first time in the beautiful and mysterious area of Røros. It is an old mining town so the theme of ‘Digging’ fits very well.

This conference was originally a computer conference for designers and illustrators, it has gradually changed over the years. Today, the conference aims to increase the understanding of visual communications and the role it plays in society. I am excited these guys are keen to explore Service Design at such an event.

Keetra Dean Dixon was first up, she calls herself an Experiential Choreographer and is the brains behind the fabulous hugging wall which I have experienced as a hugger and a huggee. Keetra challenges herself with ‘one-a-day’ projects which is something I attempted many times at University but never seemed to have the discipline for. I like the idea of pushing yourself to make something in 24hours and then share it. Listening to Keetra reminds me very much of my ambitions when I was at high school – I wanted to design products that would bring surprise and delight to people’s everyday. I must be honest and say that now I find this kind of work fairly self-indulgent. But it works and it’s beautiful and there will always be a place for it.

Marius Arnesen then talked about his journey of making a documentary about the Norwegian Army in Afghanistan. His talk was mainly made up of film footage and I will be honest and say it was very scary and shook me up a little. I am grateful for his bravery to show such footage to an audience mainly made up of traditional designers.

He talked about the reality of war. The fact is it’s not all action – it’s 99% eating, sleeping and waiting. I sensed from the audience that the link between this talk and design wasn’t clear. For me, the way Marius talked about going into this situation and having to become friends with the soldiers first echoed the way we design. It’s about real human to human trust and Maurice’s job is to get close to people.

Robert L. Peters shared many quotes that inspire him. One that stuck with me was the fact that 85% of what we know today comes through our eyes. For me, this reinforces the reality that designers see the world differently and can make thoughts, ideas and visions visible. I would have liked to see examples of what Robert has achieved by following quotes such as ‘think sideways’ and ‘aim high’ and I must be honest and say that I don’t think design is responsible for ‘creating the future world our children will live in’ . I think design is part of the solution, but many other fields and disciplines have a role to play.

It was then my turn to take to the stage and I have never before received such a spectacular introduction. Check out the video below starring Bård Brænde.

I talked about Snook and our vision for transforming the way public services are designed and delivered in Scotland. From conversations I’ve had with the organisers I know that socially motivated Service Design is very new in Norway . Thank you to everyone who talked to me afterwards and shared their inspirations and ideas with me following my talk.

Thank you to the team at Edit2011 for keeping me cosy and inviting me to part of your event.