On January 1, 2020, I wrote a blog post, "2019 - the year MID4S levelled up". That blog post included the history of our team - a team which, during the last few years, has turned into a research group with a portfolio of ongoing research projects.
In a blog post from December 2013 ("MID4S - MID for sustainability"), after we had had our second annual kick-off, I wrote that the team started in mid-2012, but we only named ourselves MID4S (Media Technology and Interaction Design for Sustainability" at that end-of-the-year 2013 workshop.
A lot has happened since then and this is not the place to summarize it all, but, we have for some time felt that we have grown out of our name, MID4S, which suffers from the fact that the name makes very little sense if you don't already know that MID is the name of our department ("Media Technology and Interaction Design"). The "4S" ("for sustainability") certainly comes out of the fact that many of us had attended the first International Conference on ICT for Sustainability (ICT4S) in Zürich in early 2013 (the upcoming Eighth ICT4S conference will be held in mid-June in Plovdiv, Bulgaria).
MID4S works well internally at our department, but the problem now is that we need to be able to talk about and present our research group with people outside our own department, outside of the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and with people at other universities (including abroad) and "MID4S" then just doesn't cut it and that we have grown out of it.
I think we started to discuss a name change in the autumn but it has only seriously become an item on the agenda this year. We had a team meeting in the beginning of the year that resulted in (I kid you not) 30 proposed names that team member Minna Laurell Thorslund documented (the majority of the suggestions came from her). It's great to have options, but how do you go from 30 names to one?
I don't know how you would go about but we are researchers so we advance slowly and systematically. We thus obviously created a short list of criteria to use for evaluating the various suggestions ("Suggested requirements for the new name"):
- Easy to say/pronounce
- Easy to remember
- Easy to understand
- Not too long! Is an acronym good?
- Conveys the scope of research that we do
- Conveys the driving force/stance/values of what we do
- Creates a clear association between our team and the greater context of our work
- What is missing at the department?
- How can we “brand” ourselves all the way from the division to “the world”
- Possible to use both internally and externally (MID4S is bad as nobody understands the name outside of MID)
We had a physical "MID4S Reboot” 10 days ago and I wrote a little about it in this blog post. This was a meeting only for the people who currently work at the Division of Media Technology and Interaction Design (MID) and one of the things on the agenda was to choose a new name for the group.
We did choose a new name, ”Sustainable Design Lab”, but after the meeting, two new suggestions appeared so there are now three suggestions:
- Sustainable Design Lab
- Sustainable Futures Lab
- Sustainability Lab
At tomorrow’s MID4S meeting, the main point will be to discuss what name we should choose. While everybody is welcome to listen and talk [...], deciding upon a new name is the main action point on the agenda and if it comes to voting, then only people who currently work at the department have a vote!