Feedback by two Backelite designers, Marie-Amélie and Fanny, on their participation in the Design Challenge cocktail organized by FLUPA in January at the Quigley’s Point bar in Paris.
After taking some time wandering in the underground maze of Les Halles to get back to the surface, we arrived a good half hour late; it was no problem because the session started with a one hour delay. The organizers expected many more participants (about 40 as opposed to the 12 actually present). We ate some Kings Cake while waiting– the third one of the day, if we’re being honest, but we needed the energy to fuel us for the FLUPA Design Challenge.
The principle of the FLUPA Design Challenge
Several teams met in person, split between Aix-en-Provence, Bordeaux, Montpellier, Nancy and Paris. The participants were divided into teams of 4 people, with 3 teams in Paris – to address the topic of the environment and sustainable development. Each team was free to choose one of the two following topics to conceive of an innovative system, product or service, all in one hour:
- Share to waste less: collaborative or circular economy
- It’s easy when it’s fun! Do good for the environment while having fun
Each team had a UX card game by Carine Lallemand at their disposal in order to facilitate the ideation around the concept identified.
The teams were done quickly, and in the spirit of learning from new people Fanny and I made sure to be in separate teams. Here is a brief summary of the work methods used by our respective teams, and the results of this challenge.
Marie-Amélie & Co
Step 1 : choose an approach (5 min)
The group I was in quickly turned toward the “share to waste less” approach.
Step 2 : brainstorm to define a theme (10 min)
Each person individually listed a series of problems resulting from this approach.
Step 3 : choose a problem (10 min)
One by one, we presented the different problems to the rest of the group to identify the recurring questions or those eliciting the most enthusiasm. Among these problems: food waste, the one which seemed realistic to act on.
Step 4 : develop and describe the problems brought up around “food waste” (10 min)
- On the Supermarket side:
Supermarkets throw out products when they reach their expiration dates. We frequently see scenes of people digging through trash cans at supermarket exits to recover these expired or spoiled products.
- On the Consumer side:
Products move from the refrigerator to the garbage can when they reach their expiration dates.
Some consumers are not afraid of consuming products which have expired.
Consumers sometimes need a food product at any hour of the day (or night) and must go to the corner superette to buy it.
Step 5 : Find solutions to resolve these problems (15 min)
Instead of throwing them out, the supermarket should place expired products in a vending machine at the store exit. Beyond a certain (real) limit date, the products are removed. These products are therefore made available to consumers for free. Beyond the ecological benefit of avoiding waste, we also could identify a social benefit: this solution becomes a means to give dignity back to people who used to sort through garbage cans and who can regain their status as “consumers” by means of this new approach.
The individual facing the dilemma of having several products in one’s refrigerator which are expiring that same day can choose to deposit them at the “anti-waste” vending machine of their neighborhood superette. He hasn’t thrown it out and is satisfied to be able to help someone else by giving the product away.
As an example, the consumer who needs to buy yogurt urgently when the supermarkets are already closed can consult the availability and quantity of yogurts available in the vending machines near his house by means of an app or a website dedicated to the service.
Step 6 : storyboard the path to illustrate the concept and find a name for the service and for team (5 min)
Unfortunately I don’t have any trace of the storyboard which was hastily drawn. It retraced in parallel that which happened on the supermarket and the consumer side. Our inspiration as far as the team name goes was “the no-names”, reflecting the status of speed in which we found ourselves at the end of the trial. The same was true for the name of the service: FND Box (by the way I forgot afterwards what FND meant. I was too occupied with persevering on my drawings).
Step 7 : pitch the concept
Despite the last minute speed, our “No-names” team won the challenge for Paris. Taking into account the small number of voters, it was very close.
Fanny & Co
Step 1 : Define a problem (15 min)
We chose an approach that turned out to be Cornelian: after a show of hands, the two ended up in a tie! We then agreed to spend some minutes individually listing different problems and began to work on solutions.
Step 2 : Choose an approach and a problem (10 min)
Our respective presentations once again brought up waste as a simple problem and enabled us to identify two problems:
- Food waste
- Energy waste in companies
Once again, the team had to make a choice! This time, we made it together: we pushed the thinking on the two topics a little further and followed our watchword: “innovate”. The exercise will bear fruit and the reduction in energy expenses within the company will be maintained!
Step 3 : Redefine the problems clearly (10 min)
Our observation on the management side: there is a lack of involvement of companies in the limitation of waste. Not enough resources are put in place.
Our observation on the employee side: once they’ve stepped through the door, employees often leave behind their ecological initiatives such as use of electricity or plastic, paper, etc. partially as a result of a lack of equipment but also of motivation.
Step 4 : Identify some solutions (10 min)
Company side: re-involve the companies in this process by highlighting the savings made, the synergy among employees, the opportunity to distinguish onself by communicationg about this action.
Employee side: undeniably, provide concrete solutions like a composter, individual recycling bins, etc. Feel supported in the process by real-time tracking of the savings realized in terms of electricity and water.
Company and Employee side: annually, congratulate and encourage these initiatives by redistributing the savings achieved to the employees in the form of different income supplements (ranging from a foosball table to a new composter).
Step 5 : storyboard the concept + find a name for the service for our team (5 min)
No more trace of the storyboard but a good memory! Again, back to the work as a team: while we were outlining the genesis of our concept, one of us started to sketch out our ideas and a story. The cadence picked up, the ideas became more clear and a second person launched into the sketching! A few seconds before the end of the exercise, we settled upon the name of our concept: eco-entreprise (the result of 10 sec. of research)
Step 6 : pitch the concept
We first presented the problem then the solution, supported by our storyboard. 5 min top time to convince! It was a perilous but motivating exercise!
What we liked
- The fun atmosphere and good people.
- The ability to get to know other designers.
- To be able to propose one’s interesting concepts through a collaborative approach, despite tight timing.
- The UX cards by Carine Lallemand which should have helped us in ideation but which we didn’t use in the end because of lack of time. But this is to be tried next time, since the idea is interesting.
What we didn’t like
- The galette (a matter of taste).
- The low number of participants.
- The lack of explanation before the beginning of the exercise.