Tag Archive | Sustainable Development Goals

Designing a better life

South Africa remains among the world`s most inequal countries. High inequality is perpetuated by a legacy of exclusion, and the economic growth does not contribute to diminishing poverty and generating new, decent jobs. Inequality in wealth is striking: the richest 10% of the population held around 71% of net wealth in 2015, while the bottom 60% held 7% of it. Furthermore, inequalities are passed down from generation to generation with little change in inequality over time. (Worldbank.) The structural inequality and exclusion lead up to more fear and less trust among the citizens, and less participation in the community.

How does design fit in a reality, where so many people lack even the basic services: water, energy, shelter, food, sanitation, health care, transport and education?

Picture: getinstantdeals.com

This question was explored by Head of Department and Senior Lecturer at the Department of Industrial Design, Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture (FADA) at the University of Johannesburg South Africa, Angus Donald Campbell, as the keynote speaker in Studia Generalia lecture “Designing with the Underserved: An Exploration of the Complexities of Design in South Africa from the perspective of the SDGs” organized by the Finnish Design Academy on 17 November, 2020.

A time of crisis and protests contains within it the seeds for transformation and change. According to Campbell, philosophical and practical re-design of the society is possible in South Africa. While many feel helpless, small and collaborative interventions of change are needed.

Local and sustainable innovations can play a key role in the path towards the United Nation`s Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs. Reaching high-minded and noble goals does not always mean million-euro budgets or heavy structures. Instead, a locally and culturally sensitive approach, combined with an immersion into the life of people can help the researcher or designer understand the small everyday challenges people face and thus identify appropriate opportunities to improve the quality of life in big scale.

“My face isn’t designed for glasses!” 

This was an exclamation of one project participant in a project that Angus Campbell`s student Marcha Naudè implemented during 2017-19. It reflects the way how underserved and excluded people, but also people living a middle-class life in European countries, can perceive services: they should fit the services, and not the other way round. Should eye-glasses be designed for the people, or people`s faces be designed for glasses?

Poor eye-sight often causes other problems, such as weak performance at school or work, difficulties in reading, doing manual work, driving etc. These in turn can deepen the exclusion and inequality. In South Africa, the challenges within the eye-care services include lack of sufficient private and public eye care services, and eyewear frames that do not consider the contextual needs. The majority of available eyewear frames are imported and most of them come from one monopoly organisation, which designs eyewear from a predominantly Eurocentric perspective. For example, there are currently only two types of eyewear fit, the “regular” fit, based on European facial data, and the “Asian” or “global” fit, which was developed in reaction to the inappropriateness of the “regular” fit. (Campbell 2020.)

Picture: ISTOCK/UBERIMAGES

However, the wide ethnic variety of people in South Africa caused that neither the “regular” fit nor the “global” fit suited well the facial features of huge numbers of south Africans. The nose pad did not sit well on the nose, the frame width was incorrect or the arm length was too short or too long. Improper fitment causes discomfort and leads to blurry vision and long-term vision problems. (Campbell 2020.)

The project focused on trying to solve the problem with frames, applying human-centered design. Naudè conducted a comprehensive field research about the needs and challenges concerning eyesight among the deprived groups. The needs of glasses wearers in local context were analyzed. The final outcome of the project was an adaptable and customatized eyewear frame that was of local design, could be produced locally and fit well the common facial features of local people. Local production helped make the frames more affordable.

Picture: United Nations

This well-focused design project shows the way in which small but smart interventions at local level can achieve visible (literally!) results at the lives of local communities, and at the same time help the country reach the Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations. This particular case contributed to the SDG 3 (Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages) and 10 (Reduce inequality within and among countries).

When solutions to local problems are identified, they can be scaled up. A similar design research approach could be applicable in a number of countries in the Global South.

Laura Ekholm

More information can be found:

Campbell, A.D. Adaptable Glasses.  https://www.angusdonaldcampbell.com/project/glasses/

United Nations. The 17 goals. https://sdgs.un.org/goals

Worldbank. https://www.worldbank.org/en/country/southafrica/overview

Sustainable Development Goals: this is the Service Design we need!

Event: Global Goals JAM Berlin, organized by 2030Cabinet, powered by SDG Investments and hosted by Fjord Berlin. In collaboration with: Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, Digital Society School, Global Goals Jam, UNDP.

In middle September I took part at the Global Goals JAM Berlin, a 2-day series of small design sprints where attendees were asked to work on local challenges – co-created with local community and industries – related to one or more of the the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

History pills – What are these Global Goals?

Let’s take a quick step back in 2015 when the Heads of State and Government and High Representatives, met at the United Nations Headquarters in New York and have decided on new global Sustainable Development Goals, known now as the Global Goals.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are the blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. They address the global challenges we face, including those related to poverty, inequality, climate, environmental degradation, prosperity, and peace and justice.

The UN set to achieve each Goal and target by 2030.

Back to present

The aim of this event was to create interventions aimed at short term targets in support of the long term goals. The themes of this year were:

  • Water and Climate Change (SDG 4, SDG 13)
  • Migration (SDG 10, SDG 16)
  • Electronic Waste (SDG 12)
  • Sustainable Development for People and Planet (SDG 1, SDG 8)

Deep dive into the Migration Theme

My Team was composed by Nataly Ramirez Arteaga, Muhammad Sumon Molla Selim and Michael Lausberg, facilitated by Güzin Goçer and we were supporting the local Sponsor “Asylum Advice”, a soon-to-be platform where refugees could seek legal advice.

We mapped out the cause and effects of Migration on a general level by using the Problem Solving Tree, we interviewed 2 refugees and a social worker with 10 year experience in the field.

The big lessons learned by using the Service Design Tools were:

  • asylum seekers tend to trust more what other refugees, that have been in their shoes before, would tell them.
  • there are a lot of services for migrants already existing but nobody knows them
  • fragmented information & lack of digitalized bureaucratic processes
  • migrants that succeeded in their first steps in a new country feel the need to help others.

Here we envisioned a need of trust and better information and at the same time the desire to offer help.

Therefore we decided to prototype a platform to connect different already existing resources and services for migrants, to collect official information from authorities but most importantly a platform to get in touch with other migrants that have gone through the same experience and to share help and knowledge to ultimately build community and trust.

Personal reflection – What can we do as Service Designer practitioners?

As a student of the Service Innovation & Design Master program I felt the urge to participate and contribute to the challenges of this year.

“Is there anything better than combining our own expertise in Service Design to serve people, planet and prosperity by helping achieving these SDGs?”

We, as Service Designers know best how important is to empathize with the user – in this case People and Planet –  and create that shift of mindset in society where Government and Businesses should sit together with citizens to co-create solution for our people and for the environment.

Here an invitation to reflect and perhaps to start spread the Service Design tools to our local Communities and give help for the cause that we feel more related to.

It takes tons of small initiatives, iterations (and failures too!) before we can see a visible impact on a larger scale.

But this means we have to start now. We have to care, share and Dare!   

And you? Are you ready to Design 2030 now?

Author: Francesca A. Frisicale, October 2019

References & Links

https://globalgoalsjam.org/

https://www.globalgoalsberlin.com/

https://twitter.com/2030Cabinet

https://twitter.com/GlobalGoalsBER/

https://sdg-investments.com/en/

https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sustainable-development-goals/

https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/post2015/transformingourworld

https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdgsummit

https://asylumadvice.org/#!