Sigurdur Thorsteinsson, a designer and Thorhallur Gunnarsson, a TV producer met in 2012. After they met, an idea was born, to use the TV media and Design Thinking as tools of urban development.
Empathize – Define – Ideate – Prototype – Test
They linked up with the Ministry of Industries and Innovation (http://eng.atvinnuvegaraduneyti.is/), Innovation Center Iceland (http://www.nmi.is/english), The Icelandic National Broadcasting Service (http://ruv.is/english), and 2 Towns in Iceland for realizing the idea.
During the first 6 months of 2012 a pilot project was done in 2 towns (Vestmannaeyjar and Hornafjordur) resulting in 4 episodes http://www.ruv.is/flikkflakk that where aired in July 2012. The success of the project in terms of local participation, economic growth and audience was such that it was decided to run it again in 2013 involving 2 other towns (Isafjordur and Saudarkrokur).
Understanding the People
The designer’s meet with the inhabitants and listen to their ideas and dreams about their community. Several workshops where held to gather ideas and define areas of intervention.
The trans-disciplinary design team started sketching out ideas that were inspired by ideas from the inhabitants and how they want to better their community.
Prototyping the new Square
A master plan was developed and prototypes of various elements where build. Teams of residents where defined and given tasks and had only two days to finish the town’s makeover.
Testing the Outcome
After many strenuous days the town is ready to be revealed. All the hard work had paid off and the makeover had brought the residents closer together. It’s amazing what is possible if everybody works as a team. It’s when people join forces and work together that the true magic happens.
Let’s use the prototype.
The project was an immediate success in terms of local participation, increase in tourism, and economic growth. It further stimulated town authorities to develop the towns in line with the prototypes built.