Kirst Reitan Andersen Seminar; Design thinking and the Role of Designers

We were lucky enough to have this lecture delivered by Kirst Reitan Andersen, who is currently studying her PHD at the Copenhagen Business School. Her project is funded by the Mistra Future Fashion Program, and Andersen is exploring how businesses can incorporate “design thinking” into their work practice to drive better results towards sustainability.

Andersen defines Design Thinking as “a methodology for practical, creative resolution of problems or issues that looks for an improved future result.”  She suggests that if this approach is combined with the more “scientific” approach that business men and women tend to work by (“defining all the parameters of the problem in order to define the solution”), then we can achieve more effective and complete solutions.

Andersen showed us case studies of her ideas put into practice.

One example was Veja, a French footwear brand that combines better conditions for Brazilian farmers with fashion, fair trade, and ecology. They work directly with small producer co-operatives in Brazil, using materials such as organic cotton, wild Amazonian rubber and acacia-tanned leather to create products for the European market. They do this without compromising on the design aesthetic of the final product.


Aowen Jin is a British Chinese Artist, who in 2010 worked undercover in factories in China. She interviewed more than 800 of the 16-30 years old girls employed there. The project aims to document China’s economic transition, the changes in contemporary Chinese culture, the changes in the factory girls themselves and the changes in the world of consumer culture. Not only does this feed her own artistic interests, Aowen is able to deliver the information to businesses that use the factories so that they can develop a better understanding of the workplaces they create and understand where they might need to make changes to improve conditions.


Reference: Kirst Reitan Andersen Lecture, 22/11/2013


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