The International Integrated Design Camp was a design conference hosted by the Korea Institute of Design Promotion in Seoul, South Korea. Design students and professionals from all over the world participated in a week-long project devoted to addressing emerging and existing problems within international society. These problems were inspired by the UN Sustainable Development Goals, ranging from poverty to environmental conservation.
Each team within the camp comprised of five to six students and one design professional from industry or education. My group’s mentor, Sangwoo Cho, had a background from companies ranging from Sony, to Samsung, to Sigma Connectivity. The students on my team came from all over the world, including South Korea, Kuwait, Hong Kong and the US.
Working as a team, our project revolved around increasing connectivity and socialization for single households. In order to accurately understand the problem, the group talked with Seoul residents and listened to anecdotes from within our group. We found that many Seoul residents were transplants, having moved from their home city our country, and found meeting people incredibly difficult in such a fast-moving city. In the end, the team designed a device that could help people recreate the feeling of eating at a table with others, with the aim of slowly acclimatizing them to in-person meetings.
The outcome of the project in this case was secondary to the teamwork and process that went into it. The whole experience was transformative for me as a designer. While I was used to working with people from all over the world during my studies at the Royal College of Art, being thrust into the lights and energy of Seoul proved to be a stark contrast to the atmosphere of London. It forced me to think of design in a new way and challenge the paradigms I had brought with me, leaving me with a much more open mind once I returned to the UK.