The power of us.

Posted on July 31, 2011


As our academic journey through design and sustainability is coming to an end (or at least, to a new beginning), we are having more and more frequent conversations about what we have learned that will be very valuable for us in the future. Is it the knowledge that we have gathered through our reading? Is it the critical spirit that we have developed through our writing? Is it the design methods that we have explored? Is it the contacts we have made with practitioners and academics? Well, it’s surely all of these, but I can’t help but feel that first comes the very special friendship we have formed.

As a very small group of five confused souls coming from five corners of the world to try and do good, I think we’ve done pretty well. We are five different brains, five different languages, five different design disciplines, five different parts of London, ten different countries, and fifty different fingers. But we have managed to find a common ground, we have developed a shared language, and we have realised that we have similar values and motivations. We have also learned to collaborate in very meaningful ways, valuing what is unique in each one of us.

Having to work together on a few projects, we have had to be ready to listen to each other, and to try to find solutions together. But as we spontaneously started to help each other on our individual projects, I realised that collaboration is more than just team work. It’s an attitude. It’s a mindset. It’s a willingness to approach the challenges we face individually in a non-competitive way. It’s about building on each other’s thoughts without being precious about them. It’s about sharing.

It might not seem like much, but experiencing this makes me happy. One of our theoric learnings is that the path towards sustainability depends very much on sharing and co-production. Therefore seeing that we are applying these principles into our working process is a way to feel that we are actually practicing what we preach. And it’s almost as comforting as a cherry and apple crumble accompanied with lime and coconut ice cream.