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Towards a future of 100% renewable energy

The future is made together and that’s why we paired up with Wärtsilä to host a second ever Women in Tech workshop. As we are both passionate about sustainability, finding a meaningful topic was easy. At the end of the day, we also had loads of open-minded concepts to guarantee a future of 100% renewable energy.

Why renewable energy can make a difference

Clean energy development is vital in combating climate change and limiting its most devastating effects. Renewable energy – such as wind, water, hydraulic, biomass, and geothermal energy – are sources of clean, inexhaustible and increasingly competitive energy. They differ from fossil fuel principally in their diversity, abundance and potential for use anywhere on the planet, but above all, in that they produce neither greenhouse gases – which cause climate change – nor polluting emissions.

Today we are still far away from a 100% renewable energy future. However, renewables are starting to become the new baseload, pushing the inflexible power generation out of the system. Energy systems are changing towards 100% renewables and for example, Wärtsilä is contributing to the change through technology and innovation. And innovation is what our workshop was all about.

Why the design game is an effective tool for ideation

We have previously used our Frantic design game to gain information in product design and ideation, during the definition phase of client projects and as a cooperative method when gathering understanding of user needs. Our design game has, time and time again, proven to be an excellent brainstorming tool. There are no wrong answers, and it’s an excellent way of looking at a subject – whether it’s something you deal with on a daily basis or a completely foreign topic. If you’re interested in the game concept, we have written about the design game on our blog here and here, so check those out as well!

At our Women in Tech workshop with Wärtsilä we decided to dive deeper into renewable energy with eight individual topics: energy & electricity, transportation, living & housing, economy, influencing & politics, products & services, cities, and circular economy. By dividing the group this way everyone was able to approach the topic from their own preferred viewpoint. Each group then had a total of 2 hours to complete the design game and come up with an idea for a potential product or service.

From educative apps to platform services and recycling solutions

Playing the design game is intensive, but right before the presentations started the atmosphere was rather excited. What kind of solutions did the other participants come up with?

There were a few topics that kept recurring. Increasing awareness was brought up in relation to individual choices regarding consumer behavior and waste reduction but also related to the consequences of political decisions. Reducing pollution and the efficient use of resources were as well listed, if not as the core, at least as benefits of their concept by many groups. Also support for sustainable choices when it comes to consuming, investing and helping in making a change were a frequent sight on the concept canvases.

After the presentation, each participant voted for the winning concept. Everyone got three stickers to give to their favorites (one or more). Feel free to give your imaginary three stickers while reading the following concepts.

  1. Team Influencing & politics ended up creating a gamified app with augmented reality features that addresses the impact of the player’s consumer choices. The team wishes to encourage people to take action and to make meaningful choices.
  2. Team Products and services engineered their way into material design and developed a water-degradable material that replaces plastic food packaging and melts in the dishwasher. As a result, the need for plastic diminishes and pollution reduces.
  3. Team Cities designed an intelligent loop system that manages food, waste and energy services effectively in order to reduce emissions, use resources in a clever manner and increase the recycling rate and cost savings. The system can be applied by blocks, neighborhoods, companies, and schools, among others.
  4. Team Transportation was inspired by sharing and platform economies and presented an idea that connects elderly citizens, poor students and parked, unused cars. To support the independent and active lives of the elderly, the service matches them with students (with time but less money) and unused cars to create a win-win solution for all.
  5. Team Circular economy focused on the global problems of fast fashion and the textile industry and wanted to shape the way we use our clothes. Instead of buying more, a person can get advice on how to remodel their unused clothes with the help of an AI advisory application and get the needed changes done at a tailor shop. All this would reduce the environmental impact of clothing, make reusing clothing easy and personalize your style.
  6. Team Living and housing wanted to change the mindset of people about waste issues by educating them in a humorous way to become aware of the global waste problem and help contribute to solving it. The team wants people to focus on sustainable materials, buy less, and get waste reduced, reused, recycled and separated.
  7. Team Energy & electricity wanted to mitigate climate change and guide in making sustainable investments. So, they came up with a concept that encourages people to pay taxes to a sustainability account from which one could make sustainable investments to renewables, energy efficiency, co2 mitigation, and so forth.
  8. Team Economy was worried about transparency, equality and informed decisions when it comes to political decision-making, as the causal connections are not always explicit. As a result, they created an artificial intelligence system that tracks the data on decisions, analyzes and explains the impacts of the decisions, and finally shares the knowledge on social media. And in the next elections, people could make better-informed voting decisions.

Which were your favorites? In our workshop, the greatest amount of stickers was collected by the “Products and services” team (10 votes) and team “Transportation” came in second (9 votes). One more time: thank you to all the participants and congratulations to the winners!

If this post sparked your interest and you’d like to hear more about our design game or service design in general, our Design Director Emma Laiho would be happy to tell you more and answer any questions.