Lecture #7 – Ursula Tischner

For the third blog-post about the lectures, I chose to write about the one from Ursula Tischner, which deals with crowd-based activities and their implementation in system designing.

Humanity, as well as Ursula and her team, are searching for better ways and methods which will serve in designing sustainable systems. As she said, when she mentioned the triple-bottom-line approach: we have to take care of the planet, of the people, and also of the economy, but if we lose the planet there will be no other two.

So we, as human beings living on this planet, should be aware of some facts. For example, that global overshoot day happens earlier every year, that Indium and other precious metals will soon no longer exist on this planet, that there is already a water crisis, that 75% of the fish population is gone, that 70% of fresh water in the US is used for livestock production, etc.
Not only we are spending our resources, but we are also spending them unequally. This is due to unequal material consumption among people living in countries with different development status. It means that the majority of the population (which are those people in developing countries) are living on very low material consumption – they consume much less than people in rich, industrial countries.

For me, the most interesting part of the lecture, was to hear how much stuff being designed is still in use after six months?
The answer is 1 %. So how is it possible for people to still have a good quality of life, but to reduce negative impacts on the environment?

She was also talking about how not only designing eco products is important, because people can buy eco products and use it in a way that is not eco (overconsumption). The right way to think about the problems our planet has, is to think about designing systems of products and services, to increase the system efficiency, rather than improve one product. When designing a product-service system design, we could redesign the whole system like mobility and have systems like car sharing, for example.

During this lecture, I also got familiar with the term SCP (Sustainable Consumption Production)  – which could be implemented when designing systems like mobility, food, agriculture, housing, etc.
Another thing we often forget is the power of the crowd, and Ursula believes that this is a powerful tool, which can be used in designing sustainable systems, to find the better solution that actual responses to real problems, which means that people have more impact in the designing process, we let them have more voice. Crowd based design teaches us how to use the power of the crowd in design through methods like the maker movement, crowdfunding, etc.

So it is important to take real problems, real needs, rather than the products fulfilling that needs, as a starting point to design need fulfillment systems with considerable sustainability improvements.

As a solution Ursula and her company offered to the world, she introduced their open innovation platform called Innovatives – the world’s first open innovation platform for sustainable solutions combining Crowd Sourcing, Crowd Voting, Crowd Funding, and Online Shop. And it functions pretty simply: people write problems, then the challenge starts, participants make teams, work on the solutions, and afterward the solutions are evaluated and the best one is implemented.

I think this lecture was above all informative and educational, it was significant to hear some facts, because you get some insights on how other creatives are thinking about the problems, how they approach to problem-solving, how their aim changes during the development. Some ideas I’ve heard during the talk are probably going to influence my development, because they are very interesting and add a fun note to a solution, like the sustainable dance floor in Rotterdam, which is a fun way of creating electricity, or the music stairways, which people use instead of elevators, because of the fun factor.