I don’t want to be a dictator

and thanks Kenny for reminding me of this…


Nonviolent Communication

I’m totally getting into this now :-) And he is such a great lecturer! The four components of nonviolent communication are 1. observation (concrete actions we are observing that are affecting our well-being) 2. feeling (how we feel in relation to what we are observing) 3. needs (the needs, values, desires, etc. that are creating our feelings) 4. requests (concrete actions we request in order to enrich our lives)

more soon :-)

Chronology of a Failure

Sometime ago, I came across this nice publication which I finally ordered today (looking forward to hold it in my hands!). It was developed by an onlab summer school in 2011. Here is what it says on their website: “Beginning right after World War II, the fight against poverty has seen a new fad nearly every decade. Major institutions such as the World Bank, national governments and a growing number of NGOs declare a new ideology which promises to reduce hunger, and improve health, education and human rights at a stroke. Alas, neither the Green Revolution nor Structural Adjustment Policies nor a focus on participation led to real improvements in the lives of the poor. Has progress really been as disappointing as it looks, and do new approaches give any hope for improvement?”



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these are some of the slides which I used for my Pecha Kucha last week. We have to start with ourselves if we want to change the world to the better…



Conference: Design without Borders – Creating Change

Last thursday, I participated at the international design conference “Design without Borders – Creating Change”. It was part of an on-going exhibition about the work of “Design without borders” at DoGA, the center for Design and Architecture in Oslo. “Design without borders” is involved in different development projects around the world and the conference was giving attention to projects and designers that improve the quality of life of people instead of producing more “nice” consumer goods. I’m always happy when I have the opportunity to go to such events where I can listen to and meet people that are actively working on making this world a better place (just a week ago, I was quite sad about not having enough time to fully participate at another interesting conference called “Everything that is banned is desired”).

Allmost all the speakers mentioned the importance of involving people in the design process. Elizabeth Palmer, a consultant for the Danish Refugee Council, said that designers should not think that we are better just because we have a degree. Instead, we need to involve local people as expats – people who are more resourceful and pragmatic than us designers educated in western institutions. This also opened the question of aesthetics and of what is a good form. “Designtoimprovelife” measures design by form (design), impact (what’s improving?) and context (life).

I was especially impressed by a talk from Anna Kirah, a design anthropologist from the United States but based in Norway. Not only was the presentation itself engaging, personal and fun but she was also talking about human-centered design and co-creation. She mentioned how important it is, to understand the aspirations and motivations of people and that in order to be able to do this, we need empathy and active listening skills – we need to understand people from their own perspectives and not our own. This is an ability that from my personal experiences and observations, most people seem to miss and I wonder how we can include it in our learning. She finished her speech with “Leadership is to create a world where people want to belong to.” (Robert B. Dilts)

For the evening program, I gave a Pecha Kucha about how we as designers need to change in order to be able to create change. Quite scary infront of all the people! I will post my slides later…

Images from the exhibition at DoGA

MA conference

Last week we had to present our MA project to the MA1 students as well as to bachelor students from the third year and some of the professors and staff from the design faculty. It was quite intense but a great learning experience. I tried something different: in the format of the presentation itself and in how I involved the audience. I used a document camera for presenting my project and short messages as a feedback tool for the audience. I was impressed how much this changed: I felt much more comfortable in giving the presentation because it was “mine” – more than the usual slideshows where I press my information into a standard format. I got a lot of positive feedback from the audience which make me conclude that it was also more interesting and fun for them, even though I’m not sure of their positive replies concerned only the form of the presentation or if the “unusual” also helped to draw attention on the content.

Theodor Barth was kind enough to film this presentation – so have a look by yourself! You can also read through the conference paper conference_report_tglahs_web I wrote and please send me your comments and thoughts!

Höfn Documentation

Mads and me finally finished the documentation about our workshop in Iceland. Hurray! Here it is: documentation_höfn, with some minor mistakes still but nevertheless readible.