How to ignite change for wicked problems
And how not to overpromise
You don’t need to be a visionary to see that humanity faces huge challenges. They are seen and recognized by governments, NGOs, industry and citizens. They all agree but it is remarkable and frustrating that change is going slowly. That has everything to do with the wickedness of the problems. Many of these problems – amongst others climate change, the refugee problem, increasing urbanization and healthcare – have similar characteristics. These so-called grand challenges are multi-stakeholder by nature, they cross the private and public domains, there is often a lack of an enchanting vision, there is a big restraint towards experimenting and they lack clear ownership. And the most important show stopper: the challenges are larger than life, it is hard to get an overview.
The Faculty Industrial Design Engineering of Delft University of Technology has established the Delft Design Labs in which researchers, students and external parties collaborate. The Big Picture is one founded in order to investigate, to design, to prototype and to debate possible solutions for wicked problems. The lab believes in a knowledge driven approach, collaborating with all stakeholders, trusting creativity and acting courageously. The lab wants to explore different ways and at the same time be able to light the way, idealistic enough to bring real change and be pragmatic enough to realise it.
The lab thrives for contributing to solutions by empowering students and researchers, collaborating with government, NGOs and industry. The aim is to create an environment where graduates can work together and collaborate intensively with researchers, using the knowledge that fits the challenge. It’s about envisioning and doing, driven by curiosity. We strive for a goal driven, means independent approach. The research and the results can vary from products, services and systems to behavioural change and new business models. This can result in small solutions with big implications but also in complex systems that balance the interests of all the stakeholders in a dynamic environment. We can approach the challenges from different angles, from technology, psychology to ownership. However, the user / consumer / citizen is always in the centre of the project.
The first project was executed in close collaboration with the Dutch Red Cross in order to research how to innovate humanitarian help. A research was executed on St. Maarten in the Caribbean Sea, in the aftermath of Irma the devastating hurricane that hit the island on the 6th of September 2017. In this talk Jeroen van Erp will share the results and insights.