Illustration of a brain inside a head

14 Sep 2018

Taking action on academic research

How design can turn concepts into something that works in the real world

We realise that a changing climate means we need to find alternative, low carbon ways of living. We need to do this quickly to prevent irreversible changes to our planet that are set to make it unsuitable for human life by the end of this century, at current rates.
The problem is not a lack of research on solutions. The challenge is making these a reality in the real world. Despite large investments in climate change adaptation research over the past ten years, little action has been taken. We do not underestimate the complexity of talking action, involving multiple people, across multiple systems and challenging deeply held values.

Designers have skills that can help. By quickly making and building we move from concepts to something tangible that people can interact with in the real world. We can test cheap prototypes with people, learning what works and what doesn’t, iterating and improving our designs as we go. An idea is just an idea until you make it real.

User-centred design has an important role to play in understanding how and why people use things, and developing solutions that people want to use.

At Snook we are keen to build partnerships with academia, to take action on research and develop solutions that work in the real world.

How have we done this before?

This year Snook worked with researchers at the James Hutton Institute to take action on their research about the health benefits of berries. They had an idea about creating a community berry scheme to help more people in Dundee access this tasty source of nutritious food.

Working with a community group to understand the needs of first time growers and project managers.
Prototyping ways to involve young children and their families in berry growing and eating.

We worked with local people and organisations to understand the challenges in joining existing growing schemes, then designed and prototyped a service that makes it easy for a range of different people to take part.  You can read some of our insights here.

Building a better future starts with showing people what is possible. We see collaboration between academics and designers as part of the solution.

Read our beliefs here.

Are you an academic exploring low carbon lifestyles? From transport and cities to energy use, circular economy, agriculture, urban food production and construction. We want to work with you!

Email with the title ‘Sustainability Snooks’ to start the conversation.