Apply User Research and Open Innovation!

To develop and implement meaningful solutions to complex challenges of the rural and urban contexts, we need holistic approaches that integrate a variety of factors such as long-term environmental and social impact, available resources, economic motives, habits and cultural traditions. Our main approach in this context is firmly based on methods of usability engineering and user experience design.

There is an urgent need for new formats and infrastructure for awareness raising, dialogue and co-development around rural-urban issues, because expertise in engineering and business are often reared in urban settings, while rural contexts offer an abundance of both important challenges and opportunities.

In our projects we strive to support and empower on-the-ground initiatives, individuals and networks that have both vested interest in the success of an intervention and knowledge about the issues and context at hand.

Principles and Methods

USER CENTERED DESIGN: We start a new project with field research and needs assessment together with the target user group and stakeholders, followed by iterative cycles of design, prototyping and user testing until the product demonstratively satisfies all user requirements.

LOCAL DRIVERS: For an innovative solution to have long-term impact, it requires both dedication and local sensibility on part of the implementer. Our support to local drivers can consist in technical advice, capacity building, project management and international networking.

SMALL  SCALE  AND OPEN SOURCE: For instance – in the area of agriculture – we support small-scale and flexible local solutions that let agricultural producers control their tools of production and bring consumers in closer relationship with food producers, while genetic resources are kept out of domination by licensing and indigenous rights are respected.

AWARENESS AND ACTIVISM: We aim to encourage novel, more effective ways of communicating important underreported issues and bringing forth perspectives from the periphery. Urban-rural collaboration is key for sustainable development.

URBANRURAL  PLATFORMS: We support platforms as spaces of learning, exchange and practical hands-on experimentation, bridging the gap and linking experts and practitioners from the two contexts to each other to create and implement new projects together.

icebauhaus e.V. - Belvederer Allee 1 - 99241 Weimar - Germany
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