Prototyping the Future

"The best way to predict the future is to invent it." Alan Kay

This week, students and staff at UID are exploring and creating new design - and developing design education - in Umeå and around the world. Ice sculpture in Jukkasjärvi, storytelling in Shanghai and creative explorations in Botsmark are some examples of what will happen.

Umeå Institute of Design is probably the first department or school to use this kind of exercise to develop the education, and the whole project is called Prototyping the Future. Professionals and leading experts from all over the world - amongst other Austria, USA, Finland and China - will facilitate 20 different workshops. One of the unique features is that not only all students, but also all staff - from rector to caretaker - are participating in the workshops on equal terms during the whole week.

In Botsmark, outside Umeå, two groups will work in parallel workshops with the artist and designer Richard Holland and the graphic designer Marije de Haas who run Floda31, a consultancy for creative exploration and innovation. Necessary gear is snowboard or downhill skis. In Helsinki, Finland, the director for Helsinki World Design Capital 2012 Pekka Timonen, runs a workshop where the participants will be inspired by and explore the connections between environment and creativity. Barbro Renkel from Uminova Innovation in Umeå will lead a workshop with the aim of setting up more design businesses in the region. In cooperation with the County Administration of Västerbotten, one workshop will explore the challenge of changing demographics and developing a strategy to grow the economic and cultural vitality of the region. This workshop is run by Marco Steinberg and his colleagues from Helsinki Design Lab.

With this project, UID wishes to offer its students the possibility to explore areas they have not yet tried out, but that could be of strategic importance in their future professions. The idea is also to give staff the opportunity to continue developing in their works. Also, UID is looking for new themes to include in the future design education.
- This is a quite unique way to use design thinking when developing the future university. Instead of only reacting to a changing world, we are now in the forefront and influencing the direction for the future industrial design profession and design education, says rector Anna Valtonen.

A list of the workshops is found here.

Time: Workshops January 17-21 2011, between 09.00 and 17.00. Wednesday February 2 all the groups will present their work.
Place: Most workshops take place at UID. Some groups are in other locations, including Tongji University, Shanghai, the Ice hotel in Jukkasjärvi, Floda31 in Botsmark and Helsinki World Design Capital 2012.

Prototyping the Future Daily Newsletter

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