IDP 2020 in Costa Rica

Friday, 21st Feb 2020

IDP 2020 in Costa Rica

The Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design amplifies Costa Rica’s reputation as a global laboratory for life-centred innovation and marks a significant investment in the country’s human capital.

The Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design has chosen Costa Rica for its first permanent expansion outside Europe and the new location for its acclaimed Interaction Design Programme, chosen by Business Insider as one of the world’s leading design educations.

The presence of CIID will bolster Costa Rica’s growing reputation as a center of disruptive innovation in Latin America, in conjunction with its rapid economic development and its status as a world leader in progressive environmental policies. The country of 5.05 million inhabitants was recently named a 2019 Champion of the Earth, the United Nations’ highest environmental honour, for its bold plan to decarbonise its economy by 2050.

“We are excited to bring our Interaction Design Programme and valued global network to Costa Rica, a country with enormous talent and interesting challenges to work on,” says Simona Maschi, CEO and co-founder of CIID. “Our vision for CIID in Costa Rica is to create a living lab of sustainable solutions and opportunities to practice life-centred design and innovation, in alignment with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.”

The founding partner for CIID’s expansion in Costa Rica is The Costa Rican USA Foundation for Cooperation (CRUSA). As part of its strategic plan to develop the country’s human capital and invest in its communities, CRUSA is partnering with CIID on a multiyear scholarship initiative for Costa Rican citizens applying to the institute’s Interaction Design Programme, as well as CIID’s short-term training modules, a continuing-education platform that is offered throughout the year. Two successful editions of CIID Summer School held in Costa Rica in 2018 and 2019 provided the springboard for the institute to implement a full-scale launch in the country.

“We are very happy to be founding partners of the establishment of a permanent Costa Rican presence for CIID,” says David Gutierrez, Chairman of the Board of the CRUSA Foundation. “This project represents a milestone in our scholarship programs and strengthens our support for the formation of Costa Rican human talent, especially in the development of innovative skills and abilities in harmony with the environment, an aspect that is fundamental for competitiveness in the era of the fourth industrial revolution.”

CIID’s 12-month Interaction Design Programme (IDP), which began in Copenhagen in 2008 and has galvanised the careers of numerous prominent design, technology, and innovation professionals, will be based for most of the year at the institute’s new studio in the Costa Rican capital of San José. The studio, housed in a historic building in Barrio Escalante that was the site of the 1948 Pacto Ulate-Figueres (Ulate-Figueres Pact), is being reimagined by global design firm Gensler and features dedicated space for workshops and community events, as well as a state-of-the-art digital fabrication lab. The vision for the studio is to serve as a hub for individuals from around the world who share a passion for learning and practicing skills, tools, and methods in the context of interaction and service design.

For part of the year, the programme will take place at Las Cruces Research Station run by the Organization of Tropical Studies, a context in which life-centred design takes on particular urgency and relevance.

With its expansion to Costa Rica, CIID has an opportunity to move from a human-centred approach to interaction design to a life-centred one. Interaction design applies a cross-disciplinary approach to the creation of products, systems, and services based on prototyping and learning by doing.

“A society should have the capacity to imagine futures that do not yet exist,” says Luis Javier Castro, president of leading private equity firm Mesoamerica and a key partner to CIID’s expansion in the region. “The presence of CIID in Costa Rica gives us a great opportunity for a mindshift.”

Founding partner CRUSA, a private independent nonprofit organisation, supports projects within its strategic area of focus while also furthering long-term initiatives, partnerships, and cooperation networks. Over the past 23 years, it has donated more than $70 million in Costa Rica with the goal of supporting the country’s sustainable development and an improved quality of life for its citizens. The CRUSA-CIID partnership aims to boost education in strategic areas within the fourth industrial revolution—design, innovation, technology, and fields in the “orange” or creative economy, which are widely considered to be the jobs of the future. Other aspects of the partnership include the funding of industry projects with local organisations, further positioning Costa Rica as a hub for sustainable solutions that build positive impact toward the UN SDGs.

Support for CIID’s expansion also comes from the Costa Rica Investment Promotion Agency (CINDE), a private nonprofit organisation whose mission is to bring foreign direct investment to the country, and the Alianza Empresarial para el Desarrollo (AED), a group of more than 140 businesses formed to promote sustainable business development in Costa Rica.

The presence of CIID in Costa Rica is particularly timely given the institute’s alignment with the country’s key priorities and its growing reputation on the world stage. In October 2019, the Costa Rican Ministry of Technology announced an action plan to promote the development of new technology-based companies and strengthen the capacities of national incubators. And in 2020, the Interaction Design Association—a global network of more than 100,000 members—will hold its Latin American conference in San José, further spotlighting the country as a rising leader in design and innovation.