We were cooperating with the the soap manufacture from L-Werk for a short project at the beginning of the summer course in Berlin, Germany. L-Werk is a sheltered workshop that gives work to people with handicaps. Sheltered workshops often have difficulties to simultaneously match the needs of the market and the special needs of their workers. As designers we had the chance to look at their manufacturing process and product potentials from different angles. Our task was to design a new soap product concept (including packaging) that gives meaningful work to the people from the shelter and opens new marketing opportunities to the workshop. It felt great to make a difference through our designs!
As side effect this warm up project had the intention to bring the group together and to go through and reflect on a brief and compact design process. We started with an input about the history of soap making, then visited the soap manufacture and involved their staff in a design thinking session. This session helped to capture potentials and threats, get familiar with the specific context of the shelter and allowed our partners to take part in the creative process of ideation and analysis to a certain extent. Afterwards we developed and refined our concepts in small groups and presented them to L-Werk.