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Photo: Melina Granberg
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52 cards for norm creative innovation

Published: 4 March 2016

The wrench and lever are two different tactics in a new methodological toolkit for norm creative innovation – a new concept that has gained interest worldwide. The toolkit is a card deck that will help to create design solutions that works for a diversity of people and do not exclude groups in society.

– My hope is that we will get a greater awareness and that we stop making products and other solutions that are so obviously stereotype. For example, pink and black razors with completely different idiom, and advertising of smiling women and muscle-men connected to the products. Working with norm critical innovation is about to get around this, to create something that is radically new, says Åsa Wikberg Nilsson, Senior Lecturer in Industrial Design at Luleå University of Technology.

– The toolkit can be used by all companies that somehow works with products and service design and development. I hope that design agencies get it and have it as a reminder not to reproduce stereotypes. Google and the large design firm IDEO in California have already shown interest in it. The toolkit will also be used in the courses we have at Industrial Design Engineering, says Åsa Wikberg Nilsson.

Supports a norm creative design process

Behind the toolkit stands a Vinnova-funded research project, where six different companies: Restaurangakademin, Spelbranschen, SMTF, Snickers WorkWear, Karolinska institutet,  Landstinget Värmland and three design agencies: Veryday, Lots and Experio Lab have worked together in a series of workshops facilitated by four researchers: Åsa Wikberg Nilsson, Luleå University of Technology; Mariana Alves, ArkDes – Centrum för arkitektur och design; Karin Ehrnberger, KTH – Royal Institute of Technology and Marcus Jahnke, SP – Technical Research Institute of Sweden, in order to explore norm creative innovations.

The results of the project are six norm creative innovations, and also a toolkit in the form of a card deck consisting of 52 methods, 12 norms, 12 tactics, 12 cases and 12 images that can be used either by individuals as reminders, or by groups involved in innovation projects. The methods will help to challenge our common perspectives and assumptions, and guide us in asking critical questions – something that is crucial to create norm creative innovation.

– A toolkit is easy for groups to gather around. They provide a quick overview and urges everyone involved to move from words to action, says Åsa Wikberg Nilsson.