Design becomes business

5 February 2009

BI Norwegian School of Management and Oslo National Academy of the Arts are doing their best to make Oslo a more creative zone. The two institutions began a cross-disciplinary cooperation in 2007, and 18 different groups presented their ideas on Friday, 23 January. The goal is to develop a creative idea into a realised and potentially innovative project.

For three intensive weeks in January 2009, Bachelor students from both schools have been working with their projects. Design students from the Academy and students from BI’s Arts and Management will join forces to make design and creative projects into business.

 “We have had some fun and exciting weeks,” says Birgit Jevnaker, associate professor in the Department of Innovation and Economic Organization at BI and one of four enthusiasts behind the project.

 The four teachers from the two schools were not sure what challenges the cultural differences might lead to. “Many of the students are already saying ‘we’ and ‘us’, however, and have developed a team spirit between themselves and for their project,” says Kristin Danielsen from BI, who teaches management of creative projects.

Creating networks

Halldor Gislason, from the Academy’s Faculty of Design and Arts, says that the group works are along two main lines: arts communication – new ways of communicating the arts, and environmental focus – the reuse of old products or services, or other ways of preserving the environment. ”Innovation” will be central in the evaluation of the project works.

“Several of the students’ project ideas will create something new within the arts, the environment or the social services in the everyday lives of Oslo people,” says Birgit Jevnaker, who is eager to know whether the City of Oslo and sponsors will support any of the ideas.

“We are bringing an international trend to Norway,” she continues. “These days it is not enough to be good at one dimension only.”

“By gathering teachers from both schools we give our students better and wider knowledge than they would otherwise have received. We also demolish myths about each other and establish networks,” says Reidar Holtskog, professor in Visual Communication at the Academy.

From design to business

“This cooperation project is particularly exciting with regard to the interdisciplinary cooperation on ideas,” says Ms. Jevnaker enthusiastically. “We draw on each other’s competence. The BI students give their perspective on how to realise innovation and have a marketing approach to the ideas. The design students, on the other hand, are good on product design and the message. They are good at expressing their ideas in words,” she continues.

Kristin Danielsen nods in confirmation: “The students are put in a situation where they have to cooperate without knowing each other beforehand, just like in working life. This course takes in the whole picture, and the students have to use everything they have learned during their entire training as well as their creativity in interaction with others.”

“The challenge is to practice creative interaction while you are still a student, and that is a big challenge for us academics and the schools as well,” Ms. Jevnaker concludes. “We have now done this three times, and it proves that extraordinary interaction is demanding, but possible! ‘This is the most interesting thing we have done,’ say some of our students.”


Text: Christina Undli

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