MIDI Field Trip 2017- Berlin

A vital part of the Master’s in Research for Design and Innovation is the MIDI field trip, which involved workshops, activities, and classes in the richly diverse and historic German capital Berlin.

The activities were divided across four days, with ample time for us to explore the city and immerse ourselves in the potpourri of cultural diversity that is the street life in Berlin. After doing a brief empathy exercise that involved us interviewing citizens of Berlin to understand the scenario of the divided city more than 28 years ago, we were given a tour through the DDR Museum (DDR — Deutsche Demokratische Republik) to help us understand the life in East Berlin and in turn East Germany. The relics of this divide are still visible in the city, acting as a reminder of harder times, while still showing the perseverance and resilience of Berliners to survive and grow through the years.

Sanssouci Palace and Park, Potsdam

The following day involved a trip to Potsdam, the capital of the Brandenburg province. Known for its film studios, creative start-ups, and media centers, which through a keynote given to us at the Medieninnovationszentrum (or Media Innovation Center) we were informed that the government is taking a special interest for growth and propagation of the city with relation to this sector. After a casual stroll through the Sanssouci park and a small picnic together with the whole class and our course directors, we were given a tour through the D-School at the Hasso Plattner Institut in Potsdam. The D-School at HPI, along with the D-School at Stanford University, is one of the most important schools working with the concept of Design Thinking in Innovation studies. It was very intriguing to see the similarities and also the differences between the ideologies and way of working between the course at the D-School and our own course back in Elisava.

Hasso Plattner Institut, Potsdam — Home to the HPI D-School

The day after our visit to Potsdam was an early start. We had the privilege of being mentored by Christian Schärmer from Proxi Studio, Berlin who helped us with our team’s visual language- to insure we convey our message across in the most direct and easy to understand way possible. The latter half of our day was at Dark Horse Innovation, were we had a dedicated space to ideate as a team and also a one on one mentor-ship with Diemut Bartl, one of the founding members of the company. This session was a crucial turning point for the trip, as team Bloom, since we got valuable insights from both Dark Horse and our course directors.

Team Bloom at Dark Horse Innovation, Berlin

The last day of the field trip was at the Bauhaus Archiv- a memorial to the ideology and legacy of the Bauhaus school set in the Berlin building of the former Bauhaus Institute. Apart from the permanent exhibition of the Bauhaus Archives, we could also witness a temporary exhibit of works by Jasper Morrison (the exhibition of which is designed by Jasper Morrison himself). Along with being inspired by just being at such a historic place for the world of design, as well as the inputs from the works present at the exhibit, we visited the Tiny House Project with a talk by Prof. Van Bo Le-Mentzel.

The Bauhaus Berlin Campus, home to the Bauhaus Archiv and the Tiny House Project

All in all the experience in Berlin was one that definitely helped us progress in our project whilst providing us with learning not just as a design thinker, but as a person, for life.