We were pleased when we met Asuka at Helsinki Design Lab x i.school Workshop. We were introduced to Asuka through ETIC, a non-profit organisation supporting the young to become social entrepreneurs. She left us with a strong impression, as while many students express their opinions mildly, Asuka was quite firm about hers.
At times many look for a safe path, Asuka’s decision to study development overseas seemed to have been quite firm. Today she studies in Lund, Sweden, and is about to write up her thesis by the end of the year.
While we are strong believer of participation and iteration, Asuka also described of her challenge in a development project in Kenya, where on-site modification and iteration was simply not an option as it was considered as breaking ‘the contract.’ She has also mentioned that her course deals with three stakeholders, “the government”, “the non-profit”, and “citizen”, often the “corporation” seemed to be intentionally left out from the discussion.
So which has bigger impact? A large national project with fixed plans you cannot modify whatsoever, or a small design project, which is cool but sometimes, difficult to see how far in fact has reached beyond the design community? Are ‘corporations’ evil or are they the vehicles of sustaining development model? What made us interesting was not the definitive answer, but the simple fact that different disciplines see the world today in a very different angle and that angle may affect our answers. Was a very fruitful discussion.