23 July 2011

Ten Ways to Redesign Design Competitions

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EDF buffet
John Thackara has been a juror on a series of sustainability and design competitions recently. And he has become a bit frustrated.

Most of them, he says, miss their tremendous potential of stimulating fresh thinking, posing new questions, exploring new solutions, starting new conversations, bringing positive energy, fostering connections between people, and motivating diverse group to try and make those outcomes actually happen.

John outlines ten reasons for why that is the case. But, he says, “it’s because design challenges have such an important role in the transition to sustainability that it’s worth improving them, radically.” In that spirit, John also lists ten suggestions of ways to make them better.

Since I have been participating as a juror in a fair number as well (including the EDF Sustainability Challenge that John writes about), I gladly post about this here.

The picture on the left was from the buffet at the EDF award ceremony (click on the picture for a zoomed version). The fact that it had a mini nuclear power station right in the middle (EDF is France’s main energy company), raised many eyebrows and made the guests question what this sustainability event was really about.

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