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Explorative design research for HEAL | 2020


research responsible | interviews | analysis | report

the project & the need

Our team leveraged innovation and concept development from within. The explorative study served as one cornerstone for that. We researched processes, current ways of working, opportunity areas and fruitful problems regarding sustainability in the early phase of building design. To comprehend the relevance and importance of this topic we interviewed field experts.

the relevancy

The construction industry has a big impact on sustainability. However, e.g. (environmental) impact calculations can alter the situation towards sustainable development. Through our research we understand this topic better – and could work on ideas that support a positive change.


How is sustainability taken into consideration in the early phase of building design?

What is the role of (environmental) impact calculations in this?


Affinity mapping on Miro as part of our analysis process.

the methods & the process

The start of the study in spring 2020 coincided with the beginning of the global pandemic – which switched our interview processes quickly to 100% online. We interviewed 11 field experts (architects, LCA specialists, researchers, …) and simultaneously gained deeper understanding of the topic through desk research. 

Our analysis funnelled the insights through several mapping cycles towards identifying fruitful problems and opportunity areas – a starting point for our team to collaborate on conceptualising ideas.

identifying pains | gains |

ways of working

affinity mapping

identifying emerging themes

translating findings to statements

creating opportunity questions for ideation

the outcome & the impact

We summarised insights, current ways of working and opportunity areas in a report – which was received positively by the team.

The report served as a basis for an ideation and concept creation workshop with experts from Stora Enso and our own team. It resulted in over 40 ideas of which five were worked on in more detail.

Furthermore, three blog posts on HEAL’s website communicate our research findings to a broader audience (post 1 | post 2 | post 3).


emphasising carbon

open source solutions, impact 

calculation tools & smaller companies

sustainability as competitive 



A page from our final report.

my lessons learned

Leading and conducting exploratory design research 100% online

Facilitating an ideation and concept creation workshop 100% online

Navigating ambiguous research goal and processes

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