Runa Klock is a Norwegian designer working with a mindful approach to product design. She is also probably one of the most energetic people we know, with an unusual ability to juggle several ambitious projects in the same time.
Runa is the driving force behind several social entrepreneur businesses including Bohkari, a company working with providing education and work for young women in Pakistan. She is deeply involved in Klubben, (the Norwegian Designers Association), the social entrepreneur Epleslang - and she works as an exhibition designer for the Jewish Museum and Nobel Peace centre.
We asked Runa a few personal and not so personal questions about the transformation of Work, space and social design:
# What do you have in front of you right now - and how does that relate to your vision as a designer?
Right in front of me, physically, I have an old, beautiful window framing a soon very green and lush backyard, 5 birds on a wire, blue skies and the promise of an early spring.
I guess this ever-changing scenery mirrors quite well what being a designer is much about: Learning, adapting, observing, taking on new challenges as the world changes and new needs emerge.
# What are the unique powers or qualities of design in addressing social problems?
The power lies in the process of designing, not in “design” as a result. Design thinking is a method that is human-centred, focusing on the needs of the people who will be using the solution, and engaging with them to understand for whom we are designing.
Design is not a quick fix and can´t alone solve the huge problems we are facing, but if we cooperate; if politicians, law and entrepreneurs use design thinking, it can offer a better chance to solve the problems facing us all.
# Do you find role models for ethical design practice in modernism or do you find the need to reinvent your plattform?
More and more designers won’t compromise with ethics, following a historical line of designers who felt responsibility in being the creators of the new. As a student I was as very inspired reading about Buckminster Fuller and Victor Papaneks s critical approach to design culture.
Papaneks principles of socially responsible design made me realize the role designers can play if we choose to. Today the voices preaching Social design comes more from organizations, businesses and schools, such as Ideo and Stanford University.
I guess the new role models are the social entrepreneurs, not waiting for the rest of the world to change, but going out there and changing it themselves.
# What are dreams? Do dreams have a role to play in your approach to creativity?
Dreams are visions and goals to strive for. My dream to work with something that matters, to use my skills and creativity for something important, has always been the driving force and compass when choosing where to put my energy and focus. Many of the projects had no commercial or marketing value when I initiated them, but have later proven to be sustainable projects also in those matters.
# How will we think about money, ethics and design in 10 years?
It’s all changing so rapidly, and still so many things stay the same. The rich become richer, and the poor poorer. Still, I hope the circular economy will change how we understand the value of resources and how everything is linked.
The sharing economy, crowd funding and collaborative consumption we now see, demonstrates the power of the consumer’s voice and hopefully this will have positive effect on the ethics of business.
# What will a typical workspace look like in 10 years?
We all need a good chair, and a desk, and most likely, the catalogs from the furniture providers won’t look all that different then what they do now.
But speaking about the room and space, hopefully there are no typical workspaces, as we all are individual with individual needs. We work from home, at the bakery, in a co-working space, from a mountaintop. The possibility of being online everywhere doesn’t restrict your work to a particular space. But concentration and quietness is a luxury and an asset beneficial to both productivity and the quality of work.
I just read that plants in the workspace may improve productivity and well being by 50 %, and employees who have control over the design and layout of their workspace are not only happier and healthier, but also 32% more productive, so hopefully this will be considered before more people are forced in to open office-spaces with clean desks.
# What other cultural or academic fields than design and the visual arts inform your work? Please share something that really inspires you.
I love science and new research; astronomy, philosophy, there so many interesting and inspirational subjects. I admire scientist who manage to make difficult topics easily understandable (like Ulf Danielsson), and those who question the established (like Rupert Sheldrake).
I find great pleasure in reading in my old encyclopedia and also love poems where a lot of wisdom and guidance can be found. Nothing is as educative as travelling, and I don’t have to travel far; As long as you put your phone down and observe the world around you there are all kinds of inspiration to be found even on buss 37 to Helsfyr.
Check out Runa Klocks website at www.runaklock.com