11 October 2010

Experientia supporting Flemish applied research on mobility and sustainability

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Flanders InShape
Experientia is excited to be working on two applied research projects for Flanders InShape, a Flemish design promotion agency that supports and advises small and mid-size companies in Flanders, Belgium on matters related to product development and design.

The ASSIST project, in collaboration with Enthoven Associates, is focused on improving mobility and communications for people with motor disabilities, whereas the EVENT project (conducted with FutureProofed) supports Kortrijk Xpo in becoming the most sustainable trade fair and congress complex in Belgium and one of the top five most sustainable fair complexes in Europe by 2020.

With these applied research projects, Flanders InShape aims to augment the efficiency and effectiveness of product development in Flanders and to improve the competitive position of Flemish companies through the development of products with higher added value for the customer.

ASSIST – Improving mobility and communications for people with motor disabilities

The Assist project, which Experientia conducts in collaboration with acclaimed Belgian design consultancy Enthoven Associates and care organisations Centrum voor Zorgtechnologie and In-HAM, aims to develop new concept ideas for assistive technologies for people with motor disabilities, using a people-centred design process. Although aimed at a Flemish context, the project focuses on international technological and design projects.

In the first phase of the project, Experientia has conducted a comprehensive benchmarking of current assistive device solutions for people with walking difficulties. The benchmark explores both on-body assistive devices, which are always in contact with motor disabled people, such as wheelchairs, rollators and standers; and assistive environments, including public transportation, mobile applications and accessibility.

Experientia will also contribute to the creation of scenarios for use during contextual observation to validate the design opportunities found in the benchmark. Enthoven Associates is currently conducting the user research and jointly the partners will then take the insights further, supported by a creative workshop to generate ideas, into design concepts.

EVENT – Sustainable event management project

The Event project sees Experientia team up with Futureproofed, a sustainable design consultancy, and Kortrijk Xpo, a conference and trade fair venue in Kortrijk, Belgium, to explore ways to make events more sustainable. The ambitious goal of this project is to make Kortrijk Xpo the most sustainable trade fair and congress complex in Belgium and one of the top five most sustainable fair complexes in Europe by 2020.

Trade fairs, congresses and events are key areas of concern for sustainability, because they involve a large number of diverse players both directly and indirectly (e.g. stand builders, lighting installers, textile manufacturers, etc.) and because time criteria often become more important during assembly, disassembly and transport, than any concern for sustainability.

This project will explore how impact can be best achieved, though good planning, preparation and usage of the right materials and products.

Futureproofed will carry out a carbon footprint analysis of Kortrijk Xpo, whereas Experientia will benchmark international best practice on sustainability for trade shows, expositions, and major public events. Together with Futureproofed, we will build a behavioural change framework, and conduct participatory workshops and concept development for more sustainable practices.

This exciting project builds on the themes that Experientia is currently exploring in our Low2No project in Helsinki, and is in keeping with our overall company commitment to sustainability.

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