Brainstorming Sessions

Last week ended with lots of ideas and fascinating discussion with individuals from around the world. We had class brainstorming sessions, which took quite a bit of time and even more energy, but it was very valuable to see what my peers were up to and be inspired by them. I started with three opportunity statements and three how might we questions to guide the brainstorming.

Students hard at work brainstorming

Students hard at work brainstorming

Opportunity Statement 1:
Growing up in Ethiopia, Isayas had food prepared for him by his mother or he purchased food inexpensively outside. He never have had the need to learn to cook Ethiopian food at home. But relocating to Copenhagen as a refugee changed all that. For the first time, he learned to cook Ethiopian food.

How might we Question 1:
How might we increase pleasure for non-western immigrants using food preparation as a vehicle?

Opportunity Statement 2:
When cooking non-ethnically Danish food, immigrants often rely on complex supply chains that include supermarkets, ethnic markets, and friends’ luggages. Keeping a reliable stream of ingredients can be difficult, if not impossible.

How might we Question 2:
How might we transform a complex, underground or even illegal supply chain into a lucrative business model for non-western immigrants living in Copenhagen?

Opportunity Statement 3:
Griffenfeldsgade is a street in Norrebro that just a few years ago was inhabited by predominantly East African residents. A couple years ago, some trendy cafes and restaurants opened up, like Ramen to Biiru, Faetter Faetter and Depanneur attracting middle class, white Danes to the neighborhood.

How might we Question 3:
If integration or making friends is a byproduct, but not the primary goal, how might we create opportunities for mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge or resources between non western immigration and white Danes?

50 ideas on the board!

50 ideas on the board!

I got almost 50 ideas from my peers, and clustered them into 9 key directions: Cultivation & Sharing, Hyperlocalization & Food Democracy, Ingredient or Climate Substitutions, Negotiating Identity, Food Exchange in the Neighborhood, Interventions in the Supermarket, Skill Exchange, Bringing Transparency to Hidden Talents or Resources, Gamification & Fun.

I used these clusters as jumping off points to take what’s interesting for me to explore in the coming weeks.

After the brainstorm, I set up some meetings to get some additional input on my design directions. I met again with Anders, the Research Associate from the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies. I also met with Marquise from Openbox. I also met with Menkir, a farmer originally from Ethiopia, after getting his MBA and long career in technology has started his own farm producing organic Ethiopian spices and plants.

After this week, I’ve narrowed down my topic to a couple of specific design directions that I will prototype and explore in the coming week.

Marquise from Openbox

Marquise from Openbox

Menkir showing me some chili's from his farm

Menkir showing me some chili's from his farm