Food Futures – Design in Action co–design event

Place in the DiA Food futures chiasma became available and I was invited to Dunblane, to spend 2.5 days there with people connected together by the passion and interest in food, put our heads together and come up with an interesting concept.

The whole event was very inspiring for me for two reasons – first, I observed the organisers and their practices in carrying out a chiasma (aka design jam, co-design event) and second I was taking part in a field that I care about – food.

I can’t talk about the intellectual property created at the chiasma here since that’s the rules given by Design in Action and I respect them – you won’t see any project or co-design method description here. 

Day 1

The event began by a great icebreaker – passing on a piece of vegetable (gigantic daikon radish) in a circle of people. Person who passes on the radish says an ingredient, the one who takes it speaks a bit about himself and then explains a recipe with that ingredient, which he likes to eat. This was already a good discovery in different food cultures, given the multi-cultural nature of this event.

The first day ended by a great talk full of life-stories by Nick Nairn – experienced chef, who is doing a good job in keeping the food in Scotland real. He answered my dissertation-related question about motivating ordinary people to cook more very well, I was grateful for that.

Day 2

Day 2 began with few talks:

  1. Louise Marston from NESTA – Technology-friendly woman involved in lot of smart things, currently interested in researching how eating together with other people affects our lives. I’ll be watching her!
  2. Simon Preston – Food innovator, engagin with local communities quite a lot, driven by positive change and making people connect with food quite a lot. Very inspiring person.

After lunch, people with a bit of direction wrote their ideas on flipcharts and manned them in a freestyle discovery session with others going around and exploring the topics for future teams.

Good flipchart to be at!
Good flipchart to be at!

I wrote “Cultivating the food culture & bringing people together”, since that’s my mission which I’m on right now. In the end we connected with 2 other ideas and merged into a team of 6 people.

We talked, talked, talked and came up onto similar topics that we’d like to address – lot of drive towards community, and employing unemployed people.

We refined that idea, picture below can give you some hint 🙂


Our productivity levels were going down towards the end of the day – after two girls leaving the team, we called it a day with Ruth, Beatrice and Sagal.


Day 3 (Presentations)

We met with our team in the morning to finish off some basic financial planning, started working on the presentation itself and were still refining our food bus concept more.

Presentations were quite relaxed, especially after Santini & Will introduced their Techo Cafe concept.

Our concept got very valuable feedback from the panel, mostly positive. It should be us doing this project with our passion instead of passing it on as a half-developed concept, which I perfectly agree upon. In the team, me and Sagal weren’t able to commit to it but Beatrice and Ruth stayed in touch about it, which made me quite happy.

It was a great experience, meeting all the people who care about food quite a lot, I almost felt that 2.5 days are sadly short for that occasion 🙂 I’d like to hereby thank the Design in Action for inviting me and treating all the hosts by a stay in Dunblane Hydro hotel!