Have you ever wondered what happens when design becomes a tool for making behavioral and social changes? Design leads to change, disruption, and innovation. Cue to Morten Grønning from groenning.me who is a great example of how that happens.
Morten Grønning – Innovation designer
Morten Grønning from Copenhagen introduces himself as a `creative engineer and product designer, with a passion for entrepreneurship`.
He graduated from Innovation Design Engineering from the Royal College of Art & Imperial College in London. Afterwards, he spent the first years of his career working in industrial design engineering.
The projects he worked on sparked his interest in technology, data science, and machine learning. For the past three years, he worked on designing medical devices, apps, and dashboards.
Today’s story focuses on some of Morten’s earlier works from his online portfolio. His every design supports the project and client details, date of launch, and description of value proposition complemented with hi-fi images.
Design for disruption
A project that seems to have caught the biggest attention of the mainstream media is the HAPPARATUS, a.k.a. `Power-Glove`. This power-tool enables sculptors, artists, and craftspeople to sculpt and shape wood and stone with their hands.
Morten worked together with sculptor David Neat and others on developing Happaratus. The project disrupts the current creative workflow and tools, thus opening new possibilities for contemporary craft.
INVIO, the heroin antidote autoinjector, was inspired after Morten’s interviews with staff members of a consumption room in Copenhagen where he first became familiar with the concept of harm reduction strategies in Denmark.
This wearable heroin overdose detector “responds to an overdose by injecting the user with an opioid antidote called naloxone.” The innovator’s motive is to apply design to decrease the number of drug-related overdoses. At the moment, Morten is working with the Addictions Department at Kings College on proving that an overdose can be accurately recorded with reflective oximetry and launching a pilot project in the UK.
There are many other works in Morten’s design portfolio, of course. However, the two that one simply must mention as solutions with the potential of bringing change are:
- SIDREH WEAVING – a project that supports the socio-economic empowerment of Bedouin women by helping them sell their handmade LAKIYA rugs, and
- ICE ROWING sport and equipment – a project created for the Rio Tinto Sports Innovation Challenge. The project should “inspire(s) students to create new sporting opportunities ranging from equipment through to radical new sporting events and competition models to facilitate active lifestyles for all people.”
Design for urban innovation
Morten has also worked with the City of Copenhagen on several occasions. The aim of these projects was to change the behaviors of the city’s residents and visitors.
CPH Urban Toilet was completed in collaboration with the Municipality of Copenhagen, UiWE, Sara Nanna, and manufactured by DECONA. The idea was to create a “sanitary solution designed for areas with a higher-than-average concentration of drug abusers and vagrants,” like the Halmtorvet in central Copenhagen. The city plans to install more units of this “safe place for sanitary use.”
Morten and PeeBetter.dk came up with STREETPEE a new urban urinal solution with the aim to accommodate the Copenhagen Distortion Festival goers. The city of Copenhagen later commissioned them to produce a series of permanent urinals for placement in Copenhagen. Later, Copenhagen Jazz Festival and the Roskilde Festival used the same design, and there are permanent urinals in the Meatpacking District of Copenhagen.
The idea of StreetPee can be traced back to a project funded by Copenhagen. The idea was to solve an issue in one of the city’s neighborhoods where a group of alcohol abusers urinate close to apartment buildings. This created discontent and complaints from the people who lived there. Thanks to the open-air street urinal Morten designed, the “benchers” started using it, thus easing the tension in the community.
Online address and portfolio
The details of his projects, resume, and social media connection points can all be easily discovered on Morten’s website.
The home page serves as:
- A brief intro of his academic and professional experience with a link to a more detailed resume,
- A summary of his three core skills which is an excellent way of saying more with less,
- A presentation of his latest projects from which visitors can easily navigate to a more detailed project section. Images are attention-grabbing, visually pleasing, and easily stand out thanks to the dominant white background, and
- An excellent place for links to his social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn), Behance profile, and contact section.
Each of these elements serves a particular purpose and allows a website visitor to find out more about the author and their work. By seeing who the person behind the portfolio is, visitors develop trust in them. By seeing the person’s work, prospective collaborators or employers also develop a stronger interest in the professional.
Lastly, owing to a personal domain name (e.g. lastname.me), anyone can memorize and discover his online address more easily. And thanks to a personal email address (e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org), additional trust and professionalism are a part of his personal brand.
Individuals like Morten Grønning fall into a category of designers that truly put human beings in the center of their work. They firmly believe that everyone deserves to be treated equally and with respect. He invests his time and skills in solving social and behavioral problems through the means of design.
The innovation that comes as a result of such efforts has the power to provide people with new tools for their empowerment and solve, at first glance, trivial problems such as creating hygienic and safe places for sanitary use, as well as contribute to a significant fight against serious issues like drug abuse and overdose.
After discovering Morten’s work, we certainly wish there were more municipal and governmental initiatives that could, with the help of talented and motivated individuals like him, bring positive change to societies worldwide, one design at a time.