Revitalizing Economic and Social Fabrics

Sabóia, Portugal

2019

What is the future of the countryside? Is our future to be found outside the dense urban landscapes in rural environment? How future technologies might affect the lives of the 45% of world population who lives in the countryside?

The challenge we worked on

While Odemira is the municipality with the largest territory in Portugal, its interior has one of the lowest population densities in Europe. Over the last two generations it has lost more than 70% of its inhabitants due to major shifts in agriculture and lack of alternative opportunities. This results in an ageing population, dispersed over a vast area, affected by isolation and social exclusion (one of the world's lowest birth rates, and a dramatic suicide rate three times the national level). Its shrinking population leads to neglect of the land, the decay of infrastructure, and the loss of traditions, knowledge, and culture.

Our partner is CLARA, a recently established center for the rural future. They purchased an old brick factory where the center will be located. Their sustainable development strategy is based on three crucial components:

  • The integration of the local community of the interior of Odemira, embracing their skills, perspectives, and traditions
  • Support of the local economy by building on the heritage of the region
  • The attraction of new visitors and of the creative community and with their support, stimulate and activate new opportunities and spaces of dialogue and thought.

We partnered with CLARA to investigate the future scenarios of such a center for the rural future. Our main aim was to develop functions and activities alongside business models that will help the center to revitalise the economic and social fabric of the area.

From August 23rd to September 1st 2019, 24 participants — from 3 continents and 10 different countries and with backgrounds ranging from product and service design to psychology and coding — gathered on the grounds of the CLARA - Center for Rural Future— a rural creative hub set up by Mariana and Diogo Dias Coutinho. There they conceived a series of creative & business proposals to reactivate the countryside and fight rural exodus.

During the 10 days of the workshop, the group — divided in 4 teams led by 4 international team facilitators — worked closely with Holis’ local partners and came up with 4 projects. All projects has been received very positively and shall be implemented by Holis with the local partners in the near future, thus confirming the institution’s tangible and impactful role.

The projects were delivered by people who cared

Organiser

Maxim Dedushkov

Interdisciplinary Designer

Maxim is kind of designer, kind of entreprenuer. He is the founder of Holis. He also founded many other things. Some of them are still running. That makes him happy. Waste makes him angry. He also works as a consultant in social innovation, design, collective intelligence and management in general.

Organiser

Eszter Bircsák

Co-founder and Food Curator

Eszter is the co-founder of Holis. She is a curator and cultural mediator who is interested in CEE regional creative industry and local movements.

Facilitator

Lewis Greener

Learning Designer and Facilitator

Lewis has worked internationally, across private and public sectors. From community-based outreach to formal youth work, arts outreach and structured programmes, working in roles that foster mutual learning and that can make meaningful change in individuals lives motivates him. Since moving to London 3 years ago he has been working freelance with lots of different projects and clients.

Facilitator

Justyna Turek

Co-founder of Change Pilots

Designer, researcher, and initiator of the ideas. Creates processes, experiences and visual systems that allow brands, organizations, and events communicate integral value offered to their users. Her experience comes from working with design studios, product and service companies as well as design and culture centers in Paris, Helsinki, New York, and across Poland. Passionate about sustainable development, Human-Centered Design, and mindfulness.

Facilitator

Henryk Stawicki

Co-founder of Change Pilots

Helps organizations create products, services and brand scenarios based on design strategies. As a co-founder of design consultancy Change Pilots he offers a unique point of view as both strategist and designer capable of creating measurable, novel solutions. Always brings multicultural perspective thanks to years of practice abroad including New York and London and such organizations as Parsons School of Design and IDEO.

Facilitator

Michala Lipkova

Product Designer, Assistant Professor at Slovak University of Technology in Bratislava

Michala is a designer working along boundaries of product and experience design. She leads commissioned research projects at the Institute of Design at the Slovak University of Technology in Bratislava. Since 2013 she is a managing director of collaborative platform Flowers for Slovakia, focused on promotion of Slovak design abroad. In 2017 she has co-founded hardware startup Benjamin button.

Expert

John Thackara

Writer, Advisor, Speaker

John Thackara is a philosopher, writer and advisor. He helps companies and cities design innovation platforms that benefit all life, not just human life. His most recent book (of 12) is How To Thrive In the Next Economy: Designing Tomorrow's World Today. John curated the celebrated Doors of Perception conference for 20 years, first in Amsterdam, and later in cities throughout India.

Expert

John Stevens

Senior Lecturer at Royal College of Art

Dr John Stevens joined the Royal College of Art in 2013 to help launch the new Global Innovation Design MA. John’s research interests concern the application of design methods to emerging contexts of innovation such as service design, multi-disciplinary design and design management, especially applied to social, cross-cultural and humanitarian innovation. This necessarily encompasses the design of products, interactions and systems.

Expert

Richard D. Bartlett

Co-founder of Loomio

One of the cofounders of Loomio, an open source software tool for collective decision-making. He's also a Catalyst at Enspiral: a network of self-organising companies who have been working without bosses since 2010. He's passionate about co-ownership, self-management, collaborative governance, and other ways of sneaking anarchism into respectable places. He writes at medium.com/@richdecibels

Expert

Roland Harwood

Compulsive Connector

Roland Harwood is a compulsive connector of people and ideas. As a successful serial entrepreneur, he is currently Founder and Director of Liminal, a new venture currently in development. Prior to that he was Co-Founder and Managing Director at 100%Open, the multi award-winning open innovation agency that works with the likes of LEGO, Ford, UBS, Oxfam and in 25+ countries around the world to co-innovate with their partners.

Participants

Hover me!
Service Designer
Zsófia Szatmári-Margitai
Artist, Freelance Graphic Designer
Daniel Kozma
Budapest, Hungary
Product Designer
Fanni Csöbi
Düsseldorf, Germany
Designer
Sadaf Uddin
London, UK
Media & Communication / Urban Studies
Monika Domanska
Gdynia, Poland
Industrial Design/ Speculative Design
Dominika Majewska
Kolding, Denmark
Project management, Service design
Alvaro Valls Boix
Elche, Spain
E-commerce entrepreneur
Aniko Brachmann
Budapest, Hungary
Industrial, Product Design
Dan Pikalo
Ljubljana, Slovenia
Designer at ChemAxon
Gábor Lukács
Budapest, Hungary
UX Design
Gábor Suhajda
Budapest, Hungary
Strategic Product Design
Gunjan Singh
The Hague, Netherlands
Business Relationship Manager
Iwona Kastunowicz
Warsaw, Poland
Service Management
Kitija Matisone
Copenhagen, Denmark
Service Design
Marta Salas
Madrid, Spain
Business Administration
Merle Niester
Vienna, Austria
Product Designer
Michał Kociszewski
Łódź, Poland
Service Design
Pieter Overgoor
Copenhagen, Denmark
Human Centred Design, Ergonomics
Robin Hancock
Bristol, UK
Strategic Design
Sara Galan
Mexico City, Mexico
Integrated Design / Landscape Design
Shumin Luo
Cologne, Germany
Industrial Designer
Simon Izidor Rozman
Ljubljana, Slovenia
Integrated Design / Communication Design
Sophia Nan Wu
Koeln, Germany
Product and Industrial Design
Tamara Olbrys
Warsaw, Poland

Partners and sponsors