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Tools Roles



Sk ill s



[To prepare for future use]


In “Seeding”, I presented the main themes of my masters project and brought it into “Farming” where I cultivated these ways of thinking and working into my own work. Here I found working methods, principles and tools that I conceptualized in “Harvest”. It describes a scenaric enterprise built on my discoveries called Growlab. In this last section called “Preserving” I will talk about what I have learned, how I have worked and what I bring further into my practice. I will define my role as a designer, and explain why and how design can work with social issues. I will also conclude on how Growlab works in relation to this and what its strengths and weaknesses are. I am now ready face the real world!


BEEN THERE, DONE ... WHAT? Taking a Masters degree in design for me have been a similar experience to taking the leap and jumping out in the sea. I am not a confident swimmer, as I have not been a confident designer, until now. Earlier I tried to be experimental because I did not want to do design for commercial reasons only, but without knowing exactly why. My Master has for me been about challenging myself in whole new ways, and to seek and find what design could be. I have been failing, and overcoming big challenges. I have rummaged myself for what I can and know, adding new knowledge and skills and working hard by setting tight deadlines. I have been going through extensive discussions with tutors, colleagues, family, myself and others to prove that what I am doing is meaningful. I have then managed to get to the surface and taking the first strokes towards my new design thinking and working.



FLYING IN THE DARK. I knew why I wanted to work with social and environmental issues, but the hard thing was also knowing what my master was about, and what I wanted it to become in the end. Being uncertain I have identified as a strength in my practice, because when I don’t know exactly what I am aiming for, I am doing things anyway, intuitively. In this way I get new ideas and research as input for my work. Tangible objects, spaces and situations in a process like this become boundary objects because they trigger discussions. In situations when they are shared they get different meanings and a common ground I can explore together participants and professionals, and also for myself to reflect on. The professional milieu at a school is (or should be) a CoP in itself. REFLECTING AND COMMUNICATING. An important part of the process has been to constantly reflect upon what I do. The first year of the MA I learnt methods for doing this, that I continued with the next two semesters. I created small booklets from each of the small exercises, projects and study trips combined with literature and practical surveys. Coming to small conclusions all the time, and about each small exercise has been important to identify the main principles that I use, the areas in which I am working, and forcing me to put names and words on them. I started, after advice from Theodor Barth, to also use diagrams and charting as a way of structuring and visualizing my findings. I have also worked within forums in which I can get feedback and talk about my work. My two classmates Eva, Tabea and me also created what we called «Foodtorials», where we regularly came together in the afternoons, presenting what we had done and giving feedback to each other. We had a checklist: 1. What have I done? 2. What have I learnt? 3. What are the questions I have? 4. What are the next steps? Here it was not only important to get feedback, but again, to 9

communicate my process to others. The same thing has been important in the frequently meetings with tutors. Many of them have found it hard to understand my ways (or imagined ways) of thinking and working, so explaining over and over again have been important for to make me and them understand. In the future I would like to continue creating these forums to come together as professionals and discussing and reflecting upon each others work. RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT. A lot of my research is actually done in practice. I am not a theoretical person that easily read through books, remember their contents and use it in my own talking and writing. When I do “action research” (as defined in CoPs) I can analyze and learn from a situation based in the real world and thus is easier to grasp and analyze. When working with people this is important, because of the complex nature of human relations. I could not read to find much of the knowledge I got, I had to experience it. FOOD AND FARMING. I chose the right time to work with this theme – this century is rising to be the century of food. Because it is such a basic necessity for us human beings, and because the food system (as explained in «Seeding») is also such a big problem, it is urgent that we find solutions now. Even in the seemingly well functioning country of Norway, a wave of awareness started spring 2011. MAJOBO (Mat og jord der du bor) appeared in the public scene, collected a lot of actors, and claimed that “small seeds can change the world!”. This has been a big help for me. People have read, heard and talked about the theme in many places, which means that when I said «I am here!», people came to me instead of me needing to use valuable time on approaching them.


It has also been a challenge to work with food. Because I am not an expert in growing, plants, or in food in general. I eat normal and healthy, and I have had a decent amount of plants before in my life, so I knew rather little. Realizing that I did not have to become an expert in farming, and inviting in the expertise that other people have into my project (as I did in many of the Growlab events) was a way of overcoming this. Working with social change involves bringing different people together, so they can learn with, by and for each other. This is how I have made Growlab work, and what I have understood is a way of thinking about the future: interconnected learning processes and communities as Manzini, John Wood, Fuad-Luke and others are repeatedly stating. Another challenge was the seasonal aspect of my project. For a long time I did not understand how I could work with growing food in the middle of the winter. I could work with grow lights, but that did not make that much sense when working with a natural thing like community. When I realized that food and people who grow food are not ÂŤon pauseÂť during winter, that each season have their task, I understood that I could use the seasons as a working philosophy in my masters project and for Growlab.

VISUAL COMMUNICATION. When I use visual communication in my work I see it mainly as a tool, and not as a professional practice. I see e.g.. the toolkits as examples of how they could look like. When doing co-design, communication is very important, and it is necessary to collaborate cross-diciplinary to achieve preferred goals. But as a furniture designer I am also trained in sketching as a way of communicating visually, as I have taken one step further with the D-I-Y manuals.


B) VOKSE Sesongen hvor det spirer og gror, og hvor det er viktig med vedlikehold. Luking, gjødsling osv. Potte om når det er nødvendig. Hagen: Sette spirer ut når det er varmt nok. Aktiviteter: Assistentarbeide i Egebergløkka Parseller. Filmkvelder Diskusjoner og annet for å dele erfaringer og utfordringer. Hjelpe hverandre. Geriljagardening. Geriljadesign Besøk i andre parseller. Vårfest

A) FORBEREDE Sesongen for å finne ut hva man skal gro, hvor og hvordan. Planlegge. Tilegne seg ny kunnskap, invitere inn eksperter på aktuelle workshops/foredrag. Aktiviteter: Kurs i pottehager med Nina Berge Potte workshop Bikube/birøkte workshop med By-Bi Kompostbinge workshop Potettårn workshop Planlegge stedene man vil dyrke. Drivhus workshop Kurs i permakultur Så frø i mars. Vinterfest


mail: growlabos tlf: 99 3 web: growlaboslo

C) HOSTE Sesongen der man høster inn alt som vokser og gror. Fra salater i juli til rotfrukter i september/oktober. Dele avling og frø med hverandre. Plukke bær og sopp i skog og mark. Konservere. Spise. Aktiviteter: Sylte og safte-workshops. Marked i samarbeid med Egebergløkka. Sommerfest.

D) LAGRE Det er slutt på alt det grønne, og nå gjelder det å nyte det som er sanket. Lagring og konservering. Spising og samvær. Inspirasjon og refleksjon. Aktiviteter: Intro Krakk/stol workshop Besøk fra Omstilling Sagene Besøk fra Majobo. Besøk fra Herligheten Parseller. Festmiddag. Jul. 38 87 07

It was a relief when I understood that I could use the seasons in my work, and that the activities could evolve around them. I used this season wheel early as a communication tool for what Growlab could be and what kind of activities it could contain.


AESTHETICS AND MATERIALS. For a long time I thought that aesthetics was not important to me, that environmental design has other, more important qualities. But still I believe that aesthetics are important to communicate and when I do an enterprise thinking, people are attracted by nice-looking things. I am also personally fond of beauty, but I have discovered that when I am not designing for industrial production, I am more free in the use of materials. And in the field of gardening, which usually happens outside, refined, expensive materials is not necessary at all. This constraint has been useful for me, and I have explored materials that is normally waste, like construction-site materials: PVC tubes, pallets, OBS-sheets, and other things. SCHOOL AS A SUPPORT STRUCTURE. I was working at school during second and third semester, and I did many small projects, workshops and events at, and close to the building. The reason for this was that the school provided many things that I needed: space (outside, for Drivhuset and Urban Farmers’ Market), workshop space (Stool Workshop), materials furniture and tools (all events). In this way the Academy have had the role that I believe a school should have for its students, as a support structure. FAILING BETTER AND BETTER When working with intuitive work, testing, failing and learning from these mistakes is a big part of it: doing things in complicated ways (arranging a whole farmers market, almost all by myself, in the pouring rain, just to be able to talk to people), forgetting important design principles (e.g. what the participants get from the experiences I create, and not only what I get from it), wanting to do too much in too little time (MESH Garden workshop), holding bad, unprofessional, uninspiring, stumbling and unprepared talks presentations (Stool workshop, launch of MESH Garden workshop), not preparing well enough (Urban Farmers’ Market, 14

Growlab #3), not doing well enough research (Growlab #4), facilitating, but not talking that much to the people participating (Stool workshop), creating an event where no one comes (Urban Farmers’ Market), and the list probably goes on and on.. But all though the failures are many, I don’t take them too hard. I am rational about them, reflect on them, but I usually optimistically crack on to the next project. The reason for this is perhaps that I am naive. Or maybe it is because I am a very positive, and don’t easily get let down. And if so, I think that is a very important quality that I have. John Wood talks about «contagious optimism» (Wood, 2009), as a drive in imagining possible futures. I really believe in this and take it with me into my professional work.



CO-DESIGN What all my work comes down to, and what Growlab is really about, is designing together. When I say designing, I do not necessarily mean the design of things, but finding common solutions for the future. I believe design can facilitate solutions more than necessarily being the solutions in itself. In the coming text I will explain how I work with facilitate the process towards these solutions, how I can arrange workshops to think together, work together, envision together, have fun together, and use each other as competence for coming up with clever solutions. And how I use design to facilitate synergic processes that generates contents that can be shared and developed in perhaps a continuous learning process. I will exemplify from and reflect around my last project at MESH, where the workshop (and all its challenges) for creating a rooftop garden was the entry point of creating both practical solutions for MESH and what is (maybe) a site-specific community around design, food and growing it. 17





MAKING THE UNTHINKABLE POSSIBLE. The MESH-workshop was mainly about exploring the potential of growing food in small urban spaces. It was also about envisioning a crazy, urban farming future at MESH, and thinking step by step what could be the way of reaching this vision, and what we can do right now as the very first step. “We need more imaginative and playful thinkining that can be shared and enacted to create a wiser society» (Wood, 2007). It is about making «the unthinkable possible» together. (see how I did it in the “Tools” section in the appendix). As one of the participants had said to his friends: «I attended a workshop this weekend where I actually made something!» SYNERGIES. Before the workshops I identified the various stakeholders and users that was going to participate. I wanted to see if new synergies (see «Seeding») could emerge between them, but as MESH is quite a strong community and synergic place in itself, I decided that the synergies should be created between MESH and the outside. Thackara writes about the «seed edge effect» – to create synergies also between already established groups, instead of just inside them. I made an open invitation on Facebook and on Meet-Up. Over two workshops, around 30 people came all together – 18 people came to the first workshop (some had to go half-ways), around 20 (some in and out) on the second. They were: Gardeners, architects, landscape architects, engineers, musician, graphic designer, prothesis maker, business people and more. I also invited Idun Leinaas, who’s the leader of the Biodynamic Association in Norway, who had the role as the expertise. In addition there were stakeholders from all parties, exept for the external stakeholders (outside the MESH community and the users of the space). Because I was 20

MESH owners


Plan og bygningsetaten


MESH Makers space

Owner of the building

Velg Sunt

MESH visitors

Invited experts

MESH users

Inhouse stakeholders

External stakeholders

Growlab (metadesign facilitator)

Potential garden users

External expertise

Mapping stakeholders at MESH as research before the workshop. What kind of synergies could emerge? (Model ref: Jones and Lundebye, 2012)

told the owner was quite challenging in terms of doing «new» things, and my MESH contacts said we should use guerrilla tactics instead: «do, then ask» (or perhaps: not ask at all). Governmental stakeholders were also not relevant at this stage, as we were only going to work with furniture installations. NEW ROLES. During my master I have identified that I take roles as a designer that I learnt by becoming a co-designer. 0. Facilitator is maybe also a role, but I see it as kind of the parent role, where some of the others come under. As a facilitator I design and drive the whole process. All the roles takes a certain amount of 21

experience to learn to use, and I have just started. I am stumbling a bit with some of them, but that is just how it has to be in the beginning. Read a more general description of the roles in the «Glossary of Terms». I have identified them as: 1. Mother. As Thorpe and Gamman describes, I am putting out small doses of «optimal frustration» for the participants to learn around and from. These are all the tasks I give them during the process and that is pushing them to work. It is also a «carer» role – I am not sending them into the open insecurity, are able to adapt and adjust the process along the way, and also provide the necessary comfort: food, drinks, breaks etc. During the process I have to juggle between mother and: 2. Brother. This is the equal role. I am not better than the participants, we are on the same level, as in a fraternal group (Thorpe and Gamman). This role I have to smoothly enter during the co-design process, because the trick is to end the process as one of the group, and start co-evolving with them. This is really hard, and I have to go back and forth between mother and brother, as a guide for and co-creator of ideas. In a CoP like Growlab I also aim to have this role, but where one of the participants (me, maybe others) also have to be the mother to take responsibility of an event to get it together. 3. Enabler. This is the role where I give them tools to work with: ideas, tools, materials, concepts. In the end I am the designer, and this is where the «old-fashioned» designer role is most present. The Makers space was full of tools, materials, and I had created small D-I-Y models they could cut out and tape together, as well as isometric drawings. I had also prepared product ideas and principles on beforehand that they could use and learn from in form of D-I-Y manuals (see «Harvest»). I had this just in case they still had really crazy concepts 22

Designer as maker – mass producing stool-kits for the Stool workshop I held.

at this point and needed more concrete ideas to work with. For some of the participants this really helped. For the second workshop I developed the ideas further and created three concepts that the groups worked with and were going to co-create/prototype, two of three did not work very well. (read more about this in Control) 4. Maker. I also pre-made some building parts for the second workshop, especially the crates. This was important, since it was complicated to cut it on-site. To become this «third agent» is interesting, because I also become a producer – another way of making an income. 5. Trigger. Manzini talks about this role, that we can take on a role to make new initiatives happen. He describe it as using our creative abilities “to make things happen”. This is what I do with Growlab in itself. 23


Left: A tool I created for the vision and planning: a line drawing of the terrace at MESH to help them understand and visualize the space.

TOOLS. I have identified a lot of tools that I use in my work, to drive a co-design process forward. They can be both physical and thinking tools, f.ex ice-breakers, envisining-tasks, prototyping tools, visualization-tools (illustration to the left) and more. I will not describe them in detail here, but please see in the appendix in the back for a better list of my tools. The tools are important, because it enables me to pack and unpack my «design-backpack» for different occations. I can maybe also use them in meeting with other co-designers, as we try to establish processes together. Some would identify tools as methods, but it fits better with my CoP thinking to call them tools, it means I can also hand them over to others. SKILLS. I use many skills from my background as a furniture and spatial designer. Especially for the Empower-role as mentioned, but also to facilitate the space, and «set the scene». It has been important for me to identify my skills, because I believe it can communitcate to others where my competency lies. It is also for myself to, again, be able to «pack and unpack» my methodology. CONTROL. It is challenging to be a “driver” of co-design processes, and to juggle between the different roles without being superior to the others ideas. It requires practice and testing and failing. At the first MESH workshop there was little resistance – the participants easily developed concepts and ideas and even good prototypes by themselves. The other one, though, went both ways. The mother is one of the easiest roles in the beginning of the process, but gets more difficult as the groups work more into it. During the first MESH workshop I gave tasks, and later in the day I also had to guide them, and give advices during the design process. This is dangerous, because I cannot become superior to 25

Example of experimentation: Testing stool concepts for the Stool Workshop. Ideas, ideas, iterate, iterate.

them: their ideas are as good as mine, but still I am the designer (see Enabler), so I know better in many cases. Co-designing is a lot about control, both of aesthetics and construction/functionality – how much control can I as a designer take, and how can I get it? I have found that it is a lot about constraints, and especially defining them on beforehand. In the MESH workshop I used two methods: a) pre-developed Growlab urban farming tools before the first workshop, and b) develop and design the participants ideas between the workshops. During the second workshop two of the concepts I developed did not work very well – they were not developed enough from my part and the groups either got stuck in construction problems where people have very different competencies. They used a lot of time on discussing, and bad ideas emerged out from it. This idea was kept open because I thought it could be fun for the group to develop the aesthetics and simple joining, but it didn’t work. Here I felt the aesthetical person in me screaming, and there was little to do with it right there. I will try to negotiate in the group how to solve the concept, and try to suggest solutions that are more aesthetic. Another group simply made a non-functioning prototype based on my drawings, which is of course not ok. I realized that it is almost impossible to solve these things during the workshop – because people get their ideas, and we have to test them before we can judge it. When doing a workshop like this everything has to be well-planned on beforehand, so as a designer in this part I failed big-time I think. The good thing is that the work continued (see Ending) Group dynamics is also another (huge) area of co-design facilitation and processes. Here it can be about pure luck how the different personalities are, but it is also possible to develop skills around manag26






INPUT/OUTPUT ITERATIVE PROCESS Model of an iterative process, and how to think about input/output in every stage participants are involved.

ing it. I realize that am not that experienced here. One issue that I identified was the size of groups – small groups (max. four) works quite well, larger ones makes it harder for all participants to follow the decision makings, and also delegate tasks. A feedback I got from a participant was to maybe decide many of the tasks in the groups on beforehand, which could make big groups more manageble.


ITERATIVE PROCESS. The whole MESH workshop was based on doing iterative processes of ideation and prototyping. An iterative process involving people is not that different from when I am doing it by myself. There exists many models naming the steps differently, but I have identified four (and also merged together some): research/plan, experiment/prototype, produce/ implement, evaluate/reflect, before going back to the start. Involving people can be done in each of these steps, separately. In the Stool workshop I did several iterations alone, before the participants was involved to in the building process, but where I also involved an experimental part. In the MESH workshop I had done some iterations before I came to the workshop, and where I made the participants iterate several rounds. There were together four iterative steps before we started working with prototyping: a) future envisioning (5 years) alone. b) future envisioning in groups. c) time travel – making a plan to get to the vision. d) what to do right now. Through these steps the participants will develop their ideas, and also get new ideas during the process. Afterwards I presented the prototyping room and my pre-developed ideas, and they developed their ideas even further partly based on these. Afterwards they started prototyping, where one also constantly have to develop the idea through testing, failing and retesting. I believe that this was quite successful in the first workshop. Very much because some were architects, but also because I had developed concrete tasks. In the second workshop my intention was to make the participants mostly build. But since I developed the ideas too little, people started designing and developing them too much before getting into the construction part. Here more defined steps would be necessary, and/or better developed and designed ideas and principles and step-by-step drawings. 29

A “design device” from the MESH workshop: the MESH Garden group on Facebook. A meeting point to sustain the interest and discussion around the Garden, and being able to make appointments etc. Another “design device” is the roof terrace in itself.

STARTING, ENDING. Starting the process at MESH was easy since I knew one of the partners. It requires a lot of research – I measured the space and analyzed stakeholders on beforehand as well as making drawings and thinking about possible solutions. It is also smart to find some of the participants before the process starts, as I did with Idun, the farming expert in the workshop. She helped me guiding the groups during the workshop, teaching them about farming. Ending, or pulling out of a co-design process I find interesting and perhaps difficult, I don’t know, since I only did one quite big process. I find the end of the MESH workshop interesting because it is a process set in motion there now. I gathered everone for an evaluation meeting after the second workshop where they gave me feedback, and where we were joking and talking together. I then created a garden group of everyone that wanted to take care of the garden in the future, and all the people at the evaluation meeting became members, both people from MESH and also from outside. We made a group-page on Facebook where the participants could still keep in contact with each other and make appointments. The participants in the group were eager to continue the development of the design, and also to start growing. This could be called a «design device» as Manzini has named it, somethings that enables the participants to “continue the co-design road by themselves.” This way of an immaterial output is maybe necessary in many cases. We don’t have to call it design, but it is useful to see that we should not be bound by our craft-based field. I decided that I would join the development of the ideas and also facilitate for the planting later, in May. In the end I will give them the final D-I-Y manuals for the ideas that has been developed.




We do not solve problems, rather we initiate processes that give actors the opportunity to know, understand and use the city and its dynamics, as well as its possibilities. –Raumlabor Berlin


Tools Materials Ideas Design

Participants Users Stakeholders

Knowledge Skills Competence

Growlab could be seen as a manager of the flow ingredients of a community of practice – tools, knowledge and participants. It is also important to consider how to take advantage of for example the flow of materials in the city.


DESIGN AS FARMING I have now described how I see myself working with co-design processes, which roles, tools and skills I use. I will now describe how I see Growlab working as a “support structure”, as a meeting point and as a “facilitator of flow”. I see the cultivation of ideas is similar to farming or gardening – natural processes assisted by designers. OPENNESS. Growlab works as a open platform where participants can share their ideas, tools and knowledge as described in “Harvest”. They can test and develop the freeware at home, as well as contribute with new ideas. There are of course intellectual property questions related to this, and I was wondering if I can use the ideas from others for commercial purposes. There are companies working with open user development in products that are sold afterwards, but how do they do it? It is obvious that the rules of the game has to be very clear in these cases. In the first workshop at MESH I introduced my thinking. But in the process I had constructed people developed ideas from scratch and not based on my ideas, and as several good ideas emerged. I asked nicely if anyone wanted to share their idea through Growlab. No one said anything. All though I had introduced my thinking in the beginning, it did not work, because I had not defined what would really happen to the ideas if Growlab adopted them.


In the second workshop I introduced Growlab by using the expression “donating ideas!, and that I would credit them as designers. This worked better. Much of these ideas I have realized by talking to Rosa in my class who is working with OpenSource programming software. Intellectual property is an important field in the future as Open Innovation is emerging more and more. In our contemporary society we put a very high price on our ideas, which we are used to. But intellectual property on ideas are hard anyway. As Ronen Kadushin writes: “Suppose you have a good bicycle. You like it and you want to keep it, so you buy a really nice lock for it. If a thief truly wants your bicycle, no matter how good your lock is, he will find a way to steal your bicycle. Intellectual property protection is exactly the same.” What is an idea anyway? I believe that ideas are important, but that they have to be cultivated. And that is what is hard. And that is what demands designers in this world. RESEMBLING NATURE. I see the Growlab community as the soil where the design tools or seeds can grow and cultivate. It can harvest from the experimentation and testing (growth) the participants do, through workshops or by themselves. Growlab can source materials, ideas, people and (also develop) tools. It can also seed its designs into already existing communities, other places. Or create new ones. In this way the cultivation and generation of design and ideas is happening in natural loops, much like nature. But to manage this process takes designers – we are the ones with experience and expertise in design, thus we must be the farmers of the cultivation process. In the beginning of the master I wanted to see how I could create a closer connection between man and nature through design. Now I see that I have also been designing a closer connection between design and nature.

LOCAL POTENTIAL. In the summer of 2012 I got a scholarship to go to Iceland on a one-week workshop 36

exploring the potential of local development in a global context. In a small town we started to search for possible potentials and synergies. We partly worked with the municipality and also did research with local people. What I experienced there was the potential of doing something, but I felt I was lacking tools for going into researching and analyzing the situation, as well as communicating and implement my ideas if I got any. But I felt that I did

PARTICIPANTS Who are the people living here? What do they do?

TOOLS What can we use here? What kinds of ideas, materials, making tools, garden tools etc?

KNOWLEDGE What are peole here good at? How can we use and share the competence?

I see that I can use my CoP model as a mapping tool of the input of the process. I did this in the MESH workshop. I am not sure if it will work, but I see the potential of using this also as a way of mapping out local potential: “which materials, tools, ideas, people and other resources exists in this place that we can use?�


not have the methods and tools to see with new eyes and work with the community there, all though I had been through the SRVD-course. What I have discovered the latest year is for me great tools of going out and explore local potential. Designers need experience in working like this through education, down at the most fundamental level. URBAN FARMING TOOLS. A part of Growlab is the “urban farming tools” as I call them. I will describe them as principles and tools more than traditional “designs”. They are not finished, but meant to be abstracted so that the user can experiment by themselves. The construction is not made very advanced, but are explained more like ideas, that maybe need testing and failing. It is not IKEA. I believe they are good starting point for further development, and maybe, in the future, it will be possible to develop them into design products, and also make and sell pre-made parts that people can assemble themselves. I also want to work with sourcing and recycling materials for the different solutions. Through workshops these will develop, and more will be added when users donate their ideas. I will work as a curator for these.


STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES. The reason why I want to present you Growlab as a business is partly because it sort of evolved into a co-design office. But as Metadesign suggests, designer should consider working more as entrepreneurs. I saw that Growlab had the potential of working as an enterprise. Designers can also take it further, as entredonneurs. When entrepreneurs (risk takers) want to work for economical profit, designers can work as creative givers (donneur). In this way we can start redefining the flow of value.

My greatest fear with Growlab is that it does not have a tight financial plan. It is not sure it will be able to earn money out there in the way I have described it here in my thesis. In the Co-design Journal Vol.3, this is also discussed – the co-design field is lacking economic, organizational and implementation skills. Despite this I believe that if I jump into it, the road will appear as I walk it. I think that Growlab is in the right time (of environmental consciousness and action) and in the right place (Oslo, where there has been little happening in this field, and where also businesses will start seeing desirable effects of integrating “greens” into their strategies). SOLVING THE WICKED PROBLEM. I set out to solve a wicked problem by finding alternatives to the food system that we have today. This is definitely not a task I can do alone, in fact, the whole world has to change. What is good is that it is now starting to become a big global movement trying to solve the problem together, and as a designer I can take part in this and play an important role. To solve a wicked problem like this one have to work in a strategic way. As a metadesigner I can do a good job here by identifying stakeholders, creating new synergies between them and other actors, triggering new initiatives, seed solutions, starting co-design processes that can evolve by themselves, creating platforms for sharing tools, ideas and knowledge and so on. I have found a range of methods and tools that defines my way of working – my methodology, and it will only grow as I continue working like this. One of the important experiences from my master is “Just do it!”. And that is what I intend to do.





DESIGN FOR SOCIAL CHANGE There is a “political commitment” in favour of design in Norway. The Norwegian Design Council states on their website: “There is a broad political agreement that design is important to strengthen the value creation in Norway. Business oriented design can give Norwegian businesses and products identity and quality which makes us well equipped to compete in global markets.” Design can instead be seen as a tool for solving the complicated issues that we face in society today, like climate change and the food challenge. Towards the global goal of greater sustainability. I would like to propose a broader design discourse in Norway. Design is strategic and solution oriented. Design covers needs. Design is simple and complex simultaneously. Design is imaginative and generates new ideas. Design can bring people with different interests together across generations, hierarchies and disciplines, in processes of co-working towards the same goal. Design can, with its wide range of fields, implement solutions into society. Design is action. Design creates change. We can use design in a million ways. We can use design for the better. 41



SOURCES Antonelli, P. (2008) Design and the Elastic Mind. New York: Museum of Modern Art. pp. 14-27. Armstrong, H. & Stojmirovic, Z. (eds) (2011) Participate. Designing with User-Generated Content. New York: Princeton Architectural Press Berry, W. (1977) The unsettling of America. San Fransisco: Sierra Club. pp. 19. Bilden, K. (2011) Mat er makt. Oslo: Aschehoug. Bourriaud, N. (2002) Relational aesthetics. [Dijon]: Les Presses du rÊel. Ekroll, I. (2011) Innkalling til Dugnad. Master. Oslo: Oslo National Academy of the Arts. Dirt! The Movie (2009) [DVD] USA: Bill Benenson. Food Inc. (2008) [film] USA: Robert Kenner. Fry, T. (2009) Design futuring. Oxford: Berg. Fuad-Luke, A. (2009) Design Activism. London: Earthscan. Fuad-Luke, A. (2007) Redefining the Purpose of (Sustainable) Design: Enter the Design Enablers, Catalysts in Co-Design. Eds: Chapman, J. & Grant, N. London: Earthscan. Hopkins, R. (2008) The transition handbook. Totnes [England]: Green. Joner E.J. (2013) Urbant landbruk og miljøgifter. Lecture at MAJOBO network meeting 17.04.2013, Oslo.


Klanten, R. and Ehmann, S., et al. (2011) My green city. Berlin: Gestalten. (2013) Kooperativet | byfolk, bønder og bra mat. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 28 Apr 2013]. Lave, J. and Wenger, E. (1991) Situated Learning: Legitimate peripheral participation. New York: Cambridge University Press. pp 98-100. Manning, R. (2004) The oil we eat: Following the food chain back to Iraq. Harperâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Magazine, February issue, pp 37-45 [internet] Available from: archive/2004/02/the-oil-we-eat/ Manzini, E. (2007) The Scenario of a Multi-Local Society: Creative Communities, Active Networks and Enabling Solutions. Eds: Chapman, J. & Grant, N. London: Earthscan. Manzini, E and Rizzo, F (2011) Small projects/large changes: Participatory design as an open participatory process. London: Taylor & Francis. Codesign, Vol. 7. pp 169-183. Mcdonough, W. and Braungart, M. (2002) Cradle to cradle. New York: North Point Press. McKay, G. (2011) Radical gardening. London: Frances Lincoln Ltd.. Objectified (2009) [film] UK: Gary Hustwit. Pollan, M. (2008) Why bother? [internet] New York: The New York Times Magazine, The Green issue. 20th April. Available from: < magazine/20wwln-lede-t.html?pagewanted=all> (2012) raumlabor berlin. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 28 Apr 2012]. Steel, C. (2008) Hungry city. How Food Shapes Our Lives. London: Chatto & Windus.


Thackara, J. (2005) In the Bubble: Designing in a Complex World. Cambridge, Cambridge: MIT Press. pp Thackara, J. (2011) Into the Open. Eds: Abel, B., Evers, L., Klaassen, R. & Troxler, P. Amsterdam: BIS Publishers. pp. 42-45. Thorpe, A. and Gamman, L. (2011) Design with society; why socially responsive design is good enough. London: Taylor & Francis. Codesign, Vol. 7. pp 217-231 (2012) Sustainable Food in Urban Communities. [online] Available at: low-carbon-urban-environments/sustainable-food-inurban-communities/homepage/ [Accessed: 28 Apr 2013]. Wood, J. (2007) Design for Micro-Utopias. Hampshire: Gower Publishing


ILLUSTRATION CREDITS Most of the pictures and images in this book is taken and made by me. The others I have listed underneath. SEEDING. 14: 16-17: http:// 26-27: RaumlaborBerlin. 28-29: Windowfarms. 35: Google Maps. 38-39: Incredible Edible. FARMING 12: a: Dori Gislason, b: Torgil Pålsrud. 15: Torgil Pålsrud. 18-19: 20: a: Torgil Pålsrud. 23: Mari Watn. 24-25: Alex Asensi. 30-31: 1-2: Alex Asensi. 34: a: Torgil Pålsrud. 35: Torgil Pålsrud. 36: Alex Asensi. 37: Adopted from Hannah Jones and Annette Lundebye. 40: Torgil Pålrud. 45: Torgil Pålsrud. 46-48: Torgil Pålsrud. 52: HARVEST: 16: Alex Asensi. 20: Torgil Pålsrud. 26-27: Torgil Pålsrud. 28-29: Alex Asensi. 30: Stina Grøndahl Risvold. PRESERVING: 16: Torgil Pålsrud. 21: Adopted from Hannah Jones and Annette Lundebye. 31:



TUSEN TAKK! My dearest, extremely patient Bård – co-gardener, housekeeper and in general my green and creative inspiration. My family, you always support me in whatever mad things I want to do. And especially my very intelligent father, for the most constructive feedback I could ever get. And my brother for documenting almost all of the Growlab events. Tabea and Eva. We made it!! With good food, laughter and pure love. Go designers! Terje Hope, my main tutor. For your amazing endurance with me and my crazy ideas. Theodor Barth, associate professor. For the big hug! Maziar Raein, head of department. For introducing this field to me. Thomas Jenkins, external tutor. For great support. Tuva, Tina and Marie. You are true Growlabbers! Thea and Jo Daniel. We built a freakin house! Kriszti Tóth from MESH and Adam Scheuring from MESH Makers. I mean, can I ever thank you for all you have arranged and done for me!? Alex Asensi for video and photography. Dayton Gordley from Omstilling Sagene, Idun Leinaas Bjerkvik from Biologisk Dynamisk forening, Øystein Dreyer from Velg Sunt for great participation and collaboration. Hopefully also in the future! Majobo and Magasinet Kote for letting me shamelessly show off my work and thoughts in public. My lovely class. Thank you, great public school system who gave me the opportunities to go to both China, Iceland and Japan during my studies. And thank all of you who “liked” Growlab on Facebook. It is 333 of you in this moment PLUS all the other people who in the strangest ways found my events and joined them. Unfortunately I don’t have space for all of you here! Material sponsors: Plastmo, Arctic Paper, Maxbo, Røtter, Bjølsen Bakeri, ArJo produkter.



Part four of the MA Thesis in Design Growlab - A Toolbox for Food, Design and Communities