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From Problem to Pitch Design Challenge

Transition Year work experience Introducing systemic interdisciplinary research for sustainable development

At the beginning of February, the CoDesRes design / engineering team in collaboration with Sea Synergy, Waterville, hosted six Transition Year students from Colaiste Na Sceilge and Killorglin on their work experience; working with the interdisciplinary team for a week on one of their research projects, SS Net Re-use. The team consists of sustainability experts, marine biologists, an engineer, an artist / designer and a fisherman applying a collective 141 years of experience to the problem.

Interdisciplinary research, is one of the growth areas in the predictions for the future of work and automation and CoDesRes are keen to share the opportunities that exist in contrast to many of the threats that are often discussed. To do this, a key aspect of CoDesRes’s work within SDG 11 Sustainable Cities and Communities is to share information on The Future of Work.

This is an ongoing process that introduces new technologies, research and approaches to traditional industries and existing professions. Often we hear statistics that 65% or 85% of jobs in 2030 don’t exist yet. However, a more accessible way of thinking about this is 100% of jobs are no longer done the way they were five to ten years ago and this is set to increase at an even more rapid rate.

Through a national tender from Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), Sea Synergy are working on the development of innovative solutions to the problem of marine waste; in particular net virgin off-cuts and samples. An, additional grant under the Environmental Protection Agency’s STRIVE Green Enterprise programme the project team enabled them to take the learning from the BIM research and roll this out to three Fishing Local Area Group Regions (FLAG).

First phase of the SS Net Reuse project is to develop 4 prototypes that have potential to be developed into local micro-enterprises offering sustainable income to fishing communities.

The project uses a particular methodology developed by CoDesRes Principal Investigator Dr. Anita McKeown, the permaCultural resilience framework (pCr), utilising tools adapted from an ecological design system to find the source of problems and develop systemically grounded solutions to current issues. This embeds a circular economic approach with waste considered as a resource. The circular economy aims to move away from the ‘make use dispose’ approach by keeping materials in use for longer, therefore maximising their value as well as recovering and regenerating materials.

Over the course of 5 days, 9.30 - 5.30p.m. the TY students were introduced to the real-world problem through an in-depth practical analysis off the issues using the pCr methods and design thinking. Through the structured deep audit of the problem, the students and team members amassed knowledge about the problem from multiple perspectives. Then through consideration and discussion they began to drill into the various aspects of the issue, analysing their findings and undertaking a life cycle analysis of the problem; considering inputs processes and outputs to see where there may be opportunities for additional design solutions.

  • Day 1 - Empathise and Define

  • Day 2 - Ideate

  • Day 3 Evaluate

  • Day 4 Prototype

  • Day 5 Test

Day 1 Empathise and Define began with an introduction to the week leading into a short Pecha Kucha presentation and brief group discussion with input from the full team to begin to understand the complexity of the problem. After a break we worked through the OBR worksheets to define the problem landscape including research web quest to discover what already exists and begin to analysis it. The day ended with a creative challenge The Worst Idea ever

Day 2 Ideate began with a quick fire share from each group of the previous days work followed by an introduction to Bio-mimicry and Cradle to Cradle / Circular Economy. As a group we started to use the OBR Zoning and life cycle analysis tools to develop a deeper understanding of the net making process and where there may be opportunities for intervention. After lunch, our resident Seanchai, Sean O'Laoghaire led a workshop on communication and 'telling our story' important skills for the final day and the team's product pitches.

Completion of OBR including Life cycle analysis of fishing net production

Day 3 Evaluate we met at the Cahersiveen Fishing Shed for a demo on net making and fixing followed by a review of what we had discovered to date. After an introduction to Biomimicry and the Remix game each team were tasked with developing potential designs on paper. This was followed by a group analysis of the design ideas and our research to date ending the day with by exploring ideas through experimentation and undertaking group problem solving.

The Biomimicry remix - developing new ideas for nets off-cuts

Day 4 Prototype after or morning quick fire share, each group presented selected designs to prototype. We then spent the day developing some prototypes and researching for the pitches that would take place on the final day. CoDesRes had already led the students through the creation of a Pecha Kucha and we added the Lean Canvas model to help the teams work through the market research required for their 'Dragon's Den style pitch and presentation.

Experimentation with materials and ideas

Day 5 Test - tested the team's, prototypes and business pitch through their peach kulcha presentation which each team shared after lunch. The week ended with pizza and a discussion about the week and the projects that had been developed.

The week supported the students to realise the opportunities of using the ‘waste’ materials now as a resource to produce marketable products and were encouraged to design their own prototypes and guided on how to pitch them to an audience. Through their week-long experience the TY students understood the value of working with a multidisciplinary team, how to map resources and ideas through the pCr methodology, understand the value of Life Cycle Analysis, biomimicry in creativity and practice their creative and pitching skills.

Follow the project on Facebook - SS Net Reuse or email to find out more or to get involved

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