Category Archives: Interviews

Interview about innovation with Martin Willers

Martin Willers, one of the guest speakers at the event, who normally works at design consultant  firm People people in Stockholm, gives his views on how to address the issue of sustainability on a easy reality level and his expectations of the event and wishes for the participants:

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Summary of inspiration speeches for the participants

Some things captured during the inauguration…

Joakim Fransson, from Renova a Gothenburg trash care-taking company, spoke of  some of the company’s solutions in the environmental field, trying to give the event participants inspiration. Renova has invented a new dumster truck, a result from cooperation with local Volvo. With cleaner energy and being quiet it allows work at new times at evenings and early mornings, cutting short unnecessary waiting times with the truck. The company also teaches secondary students about waste and how to treat it, providing knowledge to the young public and maybe changing the youngsters view of the environment. And through opening up the recycling stations across the regions, people’s trips have grown shorter, cutting bad emissions.

Fransson mentioned functionality – guts/daring – crowd sourcing (how hobby people can provide us with loads of interesting information), as three things that inspires him in his work.

Magnus Kuschel, from Commute Greener speaking in a direct link from US, also put an emphasis on finding inspiring people when to work and develop new things. He encouraged all the participants of the event to imagine 3 persons that they get inspired by.

He himself mentioned Pippi Långstrump and Astrid Lindgren – strong individuals going through harschips but still being kind and generous – Mac’s founder Steve Jobs and Lee Shipper, a recent deceased climate science at Harvard, as people inspiring him.

Martin Willers, from Swedish design firm People People, gave severals examples of how to address the big issue of sustainablity. He admitted he for long avoided the issue since it seemed too big, often one can have a Titanic-feeling about our lifestyle and its effects “we’re going towards the ice berg no matter what”. But Martin got wake up call when someone told him that a tube he had designed “killed the ocean”. It proved to be the content of the tube, but the event stuck to him. He concluded that for him sustainability is about innovation, to join together two different ideas in a new cooperation and he started to move to sustainable design.

Since the supply and demand are not equal in today’s society, creative resource diminishing solutions are really needed, for example:

In Japan to save energy the country decided to set a limit to how low you could lower the air conditioner. Because of the decision they created a new fashion mode and now you can see Japanese business men walking around in half-long sleeeves and trousers.

Almost 70 percent of hamburger brand Max’s CO2 emissions come from the meat in the hamburger. Now they have invented a falafel burger reducing the emissions to 0,2 kg CO2/ burger, versus 2,8 kg COs for a meat burger.

Martin Willers ended by emphasising the simple but often forgotten thing to check out of  wishes and consumer patterns of people, the users, before moving to production. (Since almost half of all product and development investment does not bring return) For example, most people don’t water at on hundred degrees celcius but 80 or lower for tea, children food etc. So at People people they invented a water boiler which has a regulative temperature  set.

Finally Olof Kolte, engineer, designer and lecturer on sustainable design at Lund university, gave the participants some more theoretical and broad input on the topic of sustainability. Referring to design theorist Tony Fry, he mentioned that we need to understand causality and reflective complexity better. All things are interconnected and very few are as simple as we often present them. Kolte sees sustainability as a system level issue, where we need to become more interdisciplinary and intersectoral, move from industrial to polycultural agriculture and from a linear to a cyclic thinking.

Kolte’s final message was that we are today good problem solvers, but the challenge for us is to learn how to avoid problems. He encouraged the participants to work in that direction.

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