Written by Yun-Mao Lin. Image credit to NCKU Future Atelier.
A virtual workshop, "Smart" Community Mini Jam, hosted at NCKU
On May 21 and 22, National Cheng Kung University hosted the "Smart" Community Mini Jam, a virtual workshop which gathered participants from Tainan, Tokyo, and Bangkok. This online co-creation workshop invited participants to brainstorm a new vision of a "smart" community through the process of design thinking.
NCKU Future Atelier, NCKU Design Center, and Loftwork teamed up to host the "Smart" Community Mini Jam. "In the historical, more than 90-year-old NUKU building, we explore the world from multiple points of view with people of a variety of backgrounds, who come from different parts of the world and different cultures. On an academic basis, we, as global citizens, through gathering of smart communities, can find new motivation regarding global issues that interest us individually." stated Huey-Jen Su, president of NCKU, in her lecture on May 21.
Huey-Jen Su, president of NCKU, greeted with participants of the workshop in her lecture on May 21
In the first day of the event, four speakers from Tokyo and Bangkok discussed how, in their respective fields, smart communities can solve social and environmental problems. The first speaker was Kalaya Kovidvisith, co-founder of FabCafe Bangkok, who used Farm Hack to urge agricultural transformation in Thailand. Then, Keiko Ono, experienced in working in the nonprofit, public and private sectors, talked about climate challenges facing developing island nations. As the third speaker, Pieter Franken of Safecast gave a lecture on innovation management of financial technology. Last, Akiba, the founder of FreakLabs, shared his experience of using Arduino hardware for wildlife research, environmental protection and basic infrastructure in rural and remote areas.These speakers' provocative lectures stimulated the students to imagine "Smart Communities" and provided plentiful nourishment for the co-creation workshop the next day.
Over 50 people participated in the online design thinking workshop held on May 22. Utilizing Miro, the most commonly used creative communication and collaboration platform for designers, and with the instructors' guidance, the participants developed creative proposals unique to their own team ideation. The facilitator team had a solid lineup. Apart from professionals from Loftwork, Leslie Tsai, CEO of Atelier Future, and Po-Min Kung, Design Director of Atelier Future, offered guidance to the creative teams as well. "We are introducing more examples of new collaboration models that, such as in this online workshop, can be adopted whether in technology utilization or community engagement,” Leslie Tsai said.
Leslie Tsai said that this interaction introducing more examples of new collaboration models
Through the 5-hour workshop, participants devised seven proposals, spanning across different topics such as gender equality, waste treatment, culture preservation, and rural education. Each team developed their own solutions for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals using new technology. Other than different time zones and technical issues, the biggest challenge of international virtual workshops was the language barrier. The design thinking session also allowed participants to practice cross-cultural and cross-language communication, which participants viewed as a special and memorable learning experience.
Participants experienced cross-cultural and cross-language communication in the workshop
NCKU was the first national university in Taiwan to incorporate SDGs, part of the 2030 Agenda adopted by the UN, into the core of the school's development plans. In partnership with Loftwork, the university held the workshop to bring together experts from around the world to discuss the critical issues and focus on three SDGs: SDG 8 (decent work and economic growth), SDG 9 (industry, innovation, and infrastructure), and SDG 11 (sustainable communities and cities), with the hope of creating people-oriented cyber and physical systems, and, ultimately, forming a "smart" community taking into account people, wild animals, and the environment.
The Global Goals Jam is a global event launched annually in 100 cities worldwide by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and Digital Society School (DSS) to contribute to SDGs. In response to the international action, the "Smart" Community Mini Jam prompted NCKU students to resolve environmental issues relevant to their own communities using design methods to achieve SDGs.