torsdag 31 januari 2013

CESC workshop

Time flies when you're busy (more about that in the next blog post). I went to the Center for Sustainable Communication (CESC) 24-hour workshop (retreat) two whole weeks ago and should of have posted this already back then.

A year ago I wrote about the previous year's workshop and much has happened since then in terms of my personal connection/relationship to CESC. The two major changes are:

1) I'm in the CESC management team/steering group ["ledningsgruppen"] as of half a year, representing the Dept. of Media Technology and Interaction Design (MID) and replacing my boss Ann Lantz. She really has too much else to do and didn't have time to be engaged in the center beyond perfunctory holding a seat in the management team.

2) I will work in a CESC research project starting right now and during the coming three years (2013-2015). The formal research project kick-off is this coming Friday. I will naturally write a blog post about that event.

But back to the workshop. For the most part we did what people at workshops do; listen, talk, socialize and eat - but for me with the exception of talking. As a consequence of a mistreated cold I had no voice what-so-ever. I had to leave the pub as it it became socially awkward to hang around and not talk and equally impossible to talk in that noisy environment.

Above and beyond "the usual stuff", I'd like to point out two special activities that happened at this workshop. For a straight summary of the workshop, see my MID Sustainability team member/colleague Elina's short blog post about the CESC workshop/retreat.

--- Stockholm improvisational theater ---

At my and fellow CESC management team member Cecilia Katzeff's recommendation, CESC had engaged the Stockholm improvisational theater to make us sit up and think and fall down with laughter. I took a course with them quite some time ago and have later engaged them for an event. They were and they are great. They had read up some on who we were and what we do (KTH, researchers, environmental nuts) and they made the best of it with a hilarious improvised show that drew on the audience' spontaneous suggestions. They were very skilled and funny, but it's hard to write a lot about the show, I guess you had to be there...  I do however wholeheartedly recommend them for corporate or other events.

--- Brainstorming exercise ---

We did a special brainstorming exercise that I have never done before. My group (half a dozen persons) got the question "What factors decide your and others' food choices in the foodstore? What would make you choose more ecological groceries?"

I sketched the beginning of an answer in the few minutes I had and then forwarded the sheet of paper with my suggestion to the person on my left and got a sketch from the person on my right. We repeated this half a dozen times and then stopped to discuss the resulting ideas/sheets.

I noticed that it was very hard to work on one coherent idea that got progressively more fleshed out and better, it was rather more usual for someone to work on and build upon someone else's idea - but only to have that particular chain of ideas broken or diverted by the next person in line. The most interesting ideas were thus to be found in a coherent cluster consisting of two or three persons' ideas on a page, rather than covering the whole sheet of paper. Here are a few of the cool ideas my group worked on to answer the question above.

1) Let's say I buy the "Ecobox" [Ekolådan] and get a reusable wooden box filled with ecological foodstuffs (vegetables, fruits) delivered to my door every week. I would then like to have access to a service that can provide help/ inspiration/ instructions that turns my current "stock" of groceries at home into recipes, and, that identifies "missing" ingredients while I'm in the supermarket. I want help to go from the Ecobox (which sometimes contains "strange" things I'm not in the habit of cooking with - like traditional but currently-unfashionable vegetables) to finished meals. So how can a foodstore app help me make good choices that bridges the gap between ingridients-at-home and nice meals - while I'm in the supermarket?

2) Coop nursery/Småland snack corner. IKEA has its Småland service where you can "deposit" your child for an hour or two while you shop 'til you drop. The supermarket should have a similar service. You pick up you child from daycare and before or after an afternoon trip to the local park or some other after-daycare activity, you "deposit" your child for a healthy after-daycare snack while you shop ingredients for the evening meal. Deposit your children for 15 minutes, have them fed and returned in a healthier state! The snack corner is open from 15.00 to 17.00 every weekday AND, they make nutritious, healthy fruit smoothies - using fruit that would otherwise have to be thrown away the day after tomorrow! - This is my favorite idea and I think it's great! Why doesn't this exist already? They would convert a ton of parents into happy customers!

3) Prosumer bonding - clustering people to carrot mob local stores. Software (social media) to coordinate "sustainable carrot mobs" that congregate in stores with offers of ecological foodstuffs or other goods. This would benefit the store (pulling people in) and is an event (party) in itself. Could perhaps later be combined with an ecological dating service... :-)

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