Clean Air

How exploring the impact of air pollution leads to future product and service designs...

Air Pollution

With 80% of people who live in urban areas being exposed to air quality levels that exceed the World Health Organisation limit, this is a major topic. Unless action is taken now, the number of deaths will double by 2050 and will account for 12 every minute.

IKEA’s commitment to sustainability is widely recognised, with their ‘Better Everyday Life For The Many People’ maxim a major global talking point – which is where the clean air work fits in.

IKEA came to Crowd DNA requesting a comprehensive understanding of clean air (from awareness levels and misconceptions, to how it changes behaviour) in society around the world.

Our clean air explorations took in Shanghai, Mumbai, Munich, Manchester, Milan, Warsaw, Los Angeles (pictured)
Our clean air explorations took in Shanghai, Mumbai, Munich, Manchester, Milan, Warsaw, Los Angeles (pictured)

Stage One

The first phase of the project looked to develop context and saw us producing a clean air report from extensive desk research and expert interviews – from leading toxicologists and start-ups CEOs on the front-line of air pollution innovation, to artists who are looking to creatively highlight the topic.

Stage Two

Stage two explored current consumer behaviours and attitudes related to clean air. We conducted mobile self-ethnography across the US, UK, China, Germany, Italy, Poland and India, using our behavioural factors framework to better understand the audience in two key ways:

Key Points Of Focus

1: Mapping consumer behaviour/awareness to see if air pollution currently impacts on how people live their lives

2: Providing our participants with air monitors to gauge personal air quality across their day to day lives, thus allowing us to then see how increased awareness potentially disrupts behaviour

Interviews & Ethnography

Next, we visited each market to interview and film consumers in context, including reviewing their experiences with the air monitor devices and how much impact the data had on their actual lives. The filmed ethnographic work produced rich, narrative-led accounts of individual everyday experiences, and of how people really relate to the notion of clean air.

Embedding The Findings

Embedding the findings in the IKEA business was a priority, too. We held collaborative innovation workshops to generate practical ideas for future product and service designs. IKEA have since used this insight, and the ideas that came from these sessions, to inform short and long term projects to tackle air pollution.

Alongside the workshops came an artworked and editorialised clean air survey; and a series of broadcast quality documentary films. You can find out more about the Clean Air project here

“Understanding the needs associated to a topic that is literally invisible is challenging. We’re very pleased and impressed with the approach that Crowd DNA took – allowing us to get a detailed and culturally relevant understanding of what not having access to clean air means. As a direct result of the work, we are confidently moving into the next stage of development, ever more inspired to create relevant solutions for more people to have access to clean air.”
Viktor Olivemark, strategic planner, IKEA