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Design for Frugal Innovation - A Mediator Approach

Konferensbidrag (offentliggjort, men ej förlagsutgivet)
Författare Helena Hansson
Publicerad i Oral Presentation and exhibition at conference Africa and Technology, October 17th, Delft
Publiceringsår 2015
Publicerad vid Högskolan för design och konsthantverk
Språk en
Ämnesord Frugal Innovation, Africa, Design, Design Mediation
Ämneskategorier Design


Design for Frugal Innovation - A Mediator Approach ”If vehicles are treated as mediators, triggering other mediators to act, then a lot of new and unpredictable situations will ensue, they will make other things than were expected.” (Bruno Latour, 2005) Traditionally, design activities have been centred on the innovation of a product or a technology. Today the centre is rather on peoples or societal needs (Sanders, 2008). To reach a sustainable development over time, stakeholders must be involved as drivers of their own development process, supported by designers. The Philosopher Bruno Latour means that objects can play pivot roles as social actors, which can trigger other´s to act, if they are only given agency to act (Latour, 2005). In my design research project based in Kisumu, Kenya, we have designed simple rope-making machines, adapted to the local situation, which have shown to be successful. They both act as a participatory activity, engaging the participants in a co-creative process, and as equipment that supports cleaning the environment, since it can produce new materials and products from re-cycled waste. The machines have triggered new development processes to start, where the participants use and develop the machines in new unpredictable ways. I mean that ‘frugal’ designers should use an open-ended ‘mediator’ approach - to design for design. By that, there are greater possibilities that the participants take ownership of their own process and can become the future designers themselves. (Björgvinsson et al, 2012). Questions: By what means and ends can design contribute to sustainable frugal innovation activities in Africa? What is the role of design in the innovation process?

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