The Things They Carry

The project began in a user environment at the heart of Vesterbro, Copenhagen. The team mapped the area, and dove right into how the different groups in the environment interact in a variety of ways. After several days of observation, 10 interviews and soaking in all the impressions, the team chose to focus on drug users needs and behavior.

The interviews lead the team to pick out some key concepts that represented reoccurring themes. A great deal of deliberation went into really understanding all parties involved. The findings were discussed and interpreted in to three concepts, but at their core, these concepts centered around how to make users lives less stressful. To get feedback on the concepts and to narrow them down to only one concept the team set up a co-creation session with some users and an expert in the field. Models were prepared and tools for the session were collected.

Armed with models and partially formed concepts the team received rapid and effective feedback from the additional interviews. It became clear that the most promising problem area was how to make the disposal and use of needles more efficient by considering the users’ environment. As users live outside throughout the harsh danish winters, with significant wind and minimal shelter there are numerous opportunities to improve quality of life in this area alone.

The process was incredibly rewarding and the team found that the exercise of story telling, interviews, synthesis and searching for design opportunities was an incredibly effective way of truly understanding the perspectives of various community members.