(This post was written by our MA student, Kwanchanok Kongchoksamai as a LinkedIn article. Kwanchanok graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Landscape Architecture. She works for Shma Soen Company Limited as a landscape architect. She practices landscape design and other related fields including community and urban design. Her professional interests focus on public space and sustainability development inclusively by participatory in the design process.)
The class is a part of the Master of Art in Social Innovation and Sustainability, Class 2019, Thammasat University, Thailand, which instructed and facilitated by Teak Research, the design research company that specialized in ethnographic research. The five weeks class combined with lectures and student field works led by Adisorn and Sawyer Lahr.
Design thinking for Social Innovation and Sustainability class focused on aiming to create social benefits or social changes. After the first week’s introduction, we spend the following three weeks focused on site-specific exercise with ethnographic research at Klong Toei Market, the biggest wholesale fresh market in the central area of Bangkok.
Klong Toei Market
For the decades, Klong Toei is well known as the significant fresh market of Bangkok, which twenty-four hours open, locates at Rama 4 road district. Similar to the other fresh ingredient markets, people always crowded and busy with purchasing and carrying the products. The place was fully utilized all day every day, also the workers.
Design Thinking and Design Process
During the field works, students were responded with observations, interviews, data analysis, design framework, finding challenges and opportunities, test the ideas, and develop the ideations in which those ideas were generated based on the first observations and data collecting.
The fourteen students separated into four groups that focused on four selected issues from all of the complex components of the Klong Toei market. We were difference interested in the sanitation and water management system, food waste management, quality of education, and the cart pusher customer management in the market. After the topic selected, with user empathy concerned, there was the repetition of interview with focused group ran a few times to finalize the insights of users.
During the exercise, students proceeded their works further with ideations and prototyping development by team brainstorming and instructor mentoring. The alternative ideas of students developed from their hypothesis based on insights and frameworks which needed to test and asked for users to feedback their thoughts.
With this process, the students learned to be receptiveness to new ideas and focus on the users’ understanding besides expecting the solutions or outcomes. The results of the process bring out the user’s insight that could frame the obstacles, finding out challenges, and seeking for opportunities, which are keys and fundamental to further solutions design process.
Social Innovation and Sustainability ideas
As a result of the user’s needs idea development, the student came out with different approaches related to their user’s requirements.
– Sanitation and water management system in the Klong Toei market project focused on the flow of water in a market that came from ice, which leak to floor and pathway, and the rest of those wastewater transferred directly to the nearest Klong. The idea is an attempt to manage the user flows of water from the original in retails for ingredients preservation process. The challenge of the water management system in the market can scale in other areas in Bangkok or Thailand. (Adam, Tarie, Thaniya)
– Food waste rescue project focused on new ingredient management by trying to reduce surplus food that were good and edible to creating a sustainable social inclusive enterprise platform.(Fern,Mac,Ton)
– The increase in education quality project aimed to raise equality and quality of education by setting up the class and renovate the unutilized area on the second floor as the community classroom to increase education accessibility. (Namhkao, Gook, Becky, Richie)
– Customer management of cart pusher focused on the human resource development for the cart pushers in the market by creating a coaching and training program from “the champion,” the experienced cart pusher, to the newcomer cart pusher that has got fewer customers and unstable income. (Am, Saurav, Michou, Joy)
Relating to the sustainable development goals set by the United Nations with agenda to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all, our class generated the ideas that link to SDGs goals. The idea outcomes might potentially influence the social structure in targets of quality education, clean water and sanitation, decent work and economic growth, and responsible consumption and production.