Using theatre methods for producing better design
When designers assume the role of consumers using the products that they have created, ideas and better products and services will follow. Methods of applied theatre were presented to design professionals at the Theatre&Design event organised by Tekes and the improvisation theatre Stella Polaris.
“Innovations are increasingly based on both technological breakthroughs and the understanding of the needs and preferences of the end users. For this reason, we are encouraging our customers to use these new methods so that they can make their innovation activities more successful,” says Director Kari Komulainen, explaining why Tekes has seized the topic.
“By using the methods of applied theatre those designing services can put themselves in the position of the customers and improve their empathy skills. This helps them to better understand the values, needs and dreams of others. It’s great if designers and theatre people can find each other and could jointly develop ideas that help in the solving of human and economic problems of our society,” says Merja Salonen, Senior Adviser at Tekes.
Satisfied customers and more business
The main performer at the Theatre&Design event was Byron Stewart, an American actor providing training in theatre methods used in design work. Customers of Dramatic Diversity, Stewart’s consultancy and training business, have included Motorola, Hyatt Hotels, several banks and public-sector health care organisations.
Stewart emphasised that ultimately, positive customer experiences mean more income for the company and added that companies and designers must pay more attention to product and service users: “Customers compare companies – no matter what industry they are in – against firms like Apple and Disney that are known for customer centricity. As a tool for modeling human interactions, theatre is inexpensive, fast and flexible.”
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Tekes and Design Foundation Finland have launched a Design into Profit project to promote design and design expertise in Finnish SMEs. By focusing on design, companies can improve their competitiveness and create preconditions for expanding their business and speeding up their internationalisation. www.tekes.fi/about/design/
Text: Pia Mörk
Photo: Eva-Liisa Lumio