“Design for the Majority” was a collaboration studio with renowned designer and professor Ji Ping Chang. The focus was on rural Chinese healthcare issues. We worked with students at the Shanghai Institute of Visual Art, Fudan University, via weekly videoconference, shared blogs and ftp sites.
This studio explored a variety of social, economic and infrastructure factors that results in 6 billion people on earth having a much lower standard of living than the remaining 600 million. Designers have historically focused on serving the needs or wants of the richer group and not the larger – the majority.
This was a very real project, with China-based participants carrying out research in rural areas in China. We assessed actual constraints and needs and worked to develop real solutions that can be of economic, social, and cultural benefit to these communities. Issues of social entrepreneurship, sustainable product development, and integrated design approaches will were the focus. Also participating in this studio were representatives from IDEO, Frog Design, Design Consortium, and GE.
The topic my partner, Lan Xi, and I chose to focus on was chronic disease with an emphasis on stroke. Most of the research and documentation for this project can still be found online here: DESIGN 4 THE MAJORITY
An exhibition in Shanghai was held in late May 2010 at Fudan University. As part of the Parsons-China2010 summer trip designers for the studio traveled to China to culminate research and attend the exhibition.
Here are a few images of the Home Kit prototype, the result of the first phase of research:
The kit will include a pamphlet to describe how to make these simple modifications to everyday objects. These include item that make life easier for stroke survivors and their families. They are based on products that can be purchased for much more then the average rural Chinese farmer can afford. The kit will also contain a reminder on how to do the exercise for recovery.
All of this stems from the Cooper-Hewitt project Design for the Other 90%. Of the world’s total population of 6.5 billion, 5.8 billion people, or 90%, have little or no access to most of the products and services many of us take for granted; in fact, nearly half do not have regular access to food, clean water, or shelter. Design for the Other 90% explores a growing movement among designers to design low-cost solutions for this “other 90%.” Through partnerships both local and global, individuals and organizations are finding unique ways to address the basic challenges of survival and progress faced by the world’s poor and marginalized.