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Never out of fashion – Innovation & sustainability

Norwegian design is dedicated to innovation and sustainability, looking to improve product and service development, highlighting best practices and working closely with academics, consultants and the resources Norway has to offer.

Innovation in Action

Innovation Norway works with companies through different phases of their business development process, beginning with the assessment of marketing opportunities and priorities, and moving onwards to entrance strategies, establishment and expansion. The ultimate goal is to help them to increase their product or service impact within Norway and on the global market.
To achieve this goal, Innovation Norway offers a number of services and has a network of design advisers working all across Norway. Design Advisor Victoria Utheim explains, “I work closely with companies in helping them to develop their business. Innovation Norway covers the entire spectrum of businesses, everything from entrepreneurs with good ideas and homemade prototypes to large, established corporations looking for an external perspective. We see design as a tool for development, understanding that a carefully developed product or message gives the ultimate result for our customers.”
Innovation Norway uses design as part of a work process that covers a large area of business development, including how the product or service will be produced, what costs are involved, the planned sales and market channels to be used and how customers will perceive the process. Striving to create identity and quality, Innovation Norway knows they have done their job well when their Norwegian business clients achieve success in Norway and beyond.

The Future is Now

Norwegians see sustainable design as important for future development, and a new way of thinking is being integrated into design objectives that address form, image and functionality. Here in this country, design for sustainability can be found both in theory and in practice, with research playing an active part of the design and product development.
Kristin Støren Wigum, a PhD and designer from Trondheim, is one who seeks a balance that incorporates environmental elements, practical needs and sound business sense in the design process. Although environmental issues are often associated with climate problems or technological discussions, Dr. Wigum sees quality of life as the necessary start-point, “It all begins with human needs and desires. How do we design products and systems that inspire to a more sustainable way of living? Further, the search for sustainable use of materials and low energy consumption lead us to many new and interesting ideas.”
A good example of this is a collaborative project with the Stavanger-based architect company Helen & Hard, a project that can lead to the tallest wooden high house in the world. Another is a project focusing on design and system concepts at a nursing home for the elderly. Projects such as these entail a demanding design process, but Dr. Wigum sees it as the wave of the future, “Although conventional thinking focuses on nature as an unlimited resource, future designers will increasingly work with nature’s own life cycles and rhythm as the basis for human activity.”