Latest photos from The People’s Kitchen

Thanks to all those that have been coming down to The People’s Kitchen on a Sunday afternoon. There are more photos from events which can be viewed here

@ Passing Clouds every Sunday
We need more volunteers for preparing food, cooking and for any thing else you can help with!

Please follow us on Twitter @TPKitchen, spread the word, help us to expand and eliminate food waste.

Visit the People’s Kitchen website for more information:
2-4pm food drop off
3-5pm food preparation
6-8pm dinner time

The future of 3D printing

3D printing has featured in the press recently and it is a very exciting subject. The Economist featured an article about how 3D printing from digital designs will transform manufacturing. It is incredible how such intricate products as medical implants are now being 3D printed instead of being cut out of a block of metal allowing products to be ‘additive’ instead of ‘subtractive’. This reduces the amount of waste material created and because economies of scale are now eliminated, costs and risk are lowered. There is no longer the need to produce hundreds of thousands of items to recover fixed costs.

A friend and industrial designer in California has a business designing ‘kick ass prosthetics‘ where he uses 3D printing to create limbs and braces for people with medical conditions. He designs products it has not been possible to make previously . It means that someone who has lost a leg can now have a prosthetic leg which is a mirror image of his other leg – the leg can then be customised and made to look ‘kick ass’.

3D printing
Scott has recently been featured in a number of newspapers and gave a really interesting lecture on the subject, titled The Future of 3D Printing.

He discusses the complex shapes that can be produced and what it means for the future of medical applications.

I love his comment about the scene from the film Fight Club when Ed Norton wakes up and looks around and realises that his life is a concoction of crap he’s bought from IKEA and that it is the same as what everyone else has causing him to have a social crisis and blow up Los Angeles. Life can be different – we are able to expand the boundaries of 3D printing and use it on a small scale production. Relating back to my point about ‘additive’ material production, 3D printing is also a very efficient way of working.

From what I have seen so far on the subject, this method of manufacturing not only has less impact on the environment than ‘subtractive’ manufacturing, but it is transforming the prosthetic limb industry and creating a change in the way we design medical applications!

I’m looking forward to seeing what is next in the world for 3D printing.

NEWS FLASH: Louise joins Twitter…

…and she’s loving it!

I was very sceptical about getting absorbed by another form of social media but I have been converted. I hadn’t appreciated what a great resource it is for quick snippets of information.

I’m not particularly interested in hearing what people have had for breakfast or where they are drinking on Saturday night but the topics being discussed within the service design and social innovation community are excellent!

My favourite hash tags at the moment are #bsngiving, #CollCons, #gsj11, #servicedesign but I’m looking forward to discovering more….

Follow me @cactuslouise

The Big Society Network: Giving For Good 17/02/2011

The Big Society Network

The Big Society NetworkGiving for Good‘ event was really worth attending. The ‘5 minute’ slot for talking about your idea did feel like auditions for Pop Idol at times but there were some very inspirational people talking about their Big Society ventures. It was good to see so many social enterprises, social innovators and social entrepreneurs being passionate about the Big Society!

My favourite were MindApples, People Who Share, HorsesMouth, UnLtd and BlueDotShop. I now have some internet research do to!

Photos by Paul Clarke

Photos from the event are already up on Flikr and it’s worth having a look at the Twitter feed #bsngiving. Everyone was encouraged to Tweet the best thing they took away from the various talks.

My comments and thoughts to follow….

Design Ambassadors profiled on the Design Council website

I have become a design ambassador for the Design Council’s Water Design Challenge.

The challenge is being run by the Design Council in connection with Southern Water and schools in the south east. The aim is to engage key stage 3 students to understand the environmental effects of water usage and use their creativity to find ways to reduce the amount they use. The ambassadors will be working with the teachers but will be there to engage with the students, help empower them, get them to be creative and promote design.

Last year Common Ground won the challenge with ‘The World’s Smallest Water Exhibition’ – a fantastic water exhibition housed inside a porta-loo!!
Common Ground

This year’s design ambassadors have a profile page on the Design Council website which explains why they believe in and why they are taking up the challenge. Have a look at the diverse range of designers getting involved: Design Ambassador Profiles

Are you a social innovator?

How would you define the term ‘social innovator’? The Centre for Social Innovation define it as ‘new ideas that resolve existing social, cultural, economic and environmental challenges for the benefit of people and planet. A true social innovation is systems-changing – it permanently alters the perceptions, behaviours and structures that previously gave rise to these challenges.’ This definition to me is what a sustainable designer does. It tackles the three pillars of sustainability for a balanced future and concentrates on behaviour change.

I used to call myself a sustainable designer but after giving a presentation on ‘creating social cohesion’ for the 15th Sustainable Design Network seminar I tend to say I am a ‘socially sustainable designer’. I see this as encompassing design thinking, service design and social innovation to help make our planet a better place to live. Some people would see this as purely social innovation but I feel it is important to keep the word design included – a designer uses their creativity to solve problems while a social innovator could be argued to make social change. It could be that understanding the design process or being able to realise the end result puts a designer at the forefront of innovation where as an ‘innovator’ is more business focused?

The website ‘Challenge Your World‘ makes the following observation that ‘the term social innovation is both vague enough to attract a diverse following and specific enough to afford its followers a sense of identity. But left poorly defined for too long, I worry that social innovation could lose its followers like chewing gum loses its flavour’.

Social innovation is very important for the current climate. The Big Society needs social innovators to help implement the governments goals.

Collaborative consumption, sustainable design, service design, design activism and co-participation/production are all successful contributers to helping The Big Society idea. There are plenty of people out there already contributing – but do they realise?

For example, my neighbour is setting up a new company to help companies recycle their unwanted goods but she thinks of herself fundamentally as a business woman whereas my cousin is helping reduce food waste yet fundamentally thinks of himself as a chef. I trained as an industrial designer yet now think of myself as a socially sustainable designer. I would call us all social innovators.

There are many people out there doing great things to help our environment which are socially orientated – let’s help them make their ideas happen and promote their work – this takes me back to the Challenge Your World comment about not letting social innovation lose its followers – the design activist in me is always on the look out for new adventures and projects which we, as a society can benefit from.