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Global Innovation Design (MA)

Tung Han Wu

I am a multidisciplinary designer currently studying Global Innovation Design at Imperial College and the Royal College of Art. Before that I studied Product design at Central Saint Martins College of Design.


Degree Details

School of Design

Global Innovation Design (MA)

Design offers an effective way to help us, as a global citizen to tackle the complex social, political, economic and ecological challenges.

I pursued an MA/MSc at the Royal College of Art and Imperial College London to explore how to consciously interfere with our sensory experience with different purposes. I see design as a tool to achieve my aim by extracting the essence of cross-disciplinary fields.

Design is one of our most powerful forces in helping the COVID-19 crisis. It protects us from the pandemic and improve current medical solutions. Most important of all, design can prepare us for the post-pandemic lives in future with radical changes.

During my GID Journey, the most important lesson for me was to imagine and work with unreality. No one would have expected 2020 to be such a challenging year for all of us. We need to propose a distinctive world-view that challenges our beliefs, hopes, and fears. And that is what design is good at, to propose and suggest something, then extract the essence to communicate with people. To use design as a research method and thinking tool to explore different possibilities, to criticize the past and the present, and to speculate the future.

Launch Project

IMAGINING ECONOMIC ALTERNATIVES — How do we use the future as a brief? The scenarios depicted in the Ecotopia are not forecasts for what may or may not happen to this disciplined economic situation but examples from an infinite number of possible scenarios. Consumerism is set as the central theme to scenario-building activities, for its close relationship with our capitalist economy and our material lifestyle.

MICROBIAL ECONOMY — This new economic discipline has significantly affected the world. The over 50% decrease in material demand has managed to devastate the FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods)business, turning many countries into a true post-industrial society. Environmentally - progressives collectively utilize their bio-capacity credit to maximize their material wants. They are now turning to synthetic biomaterial for local manufacturing. They embrace synthetic biology as the tool for improving their lifestyle, lowering their resource consumption by growing their own inputs of materials. The new bottom-up microbial economy is rising.

GROW YOUR OWN WEALTH — This Bio-installation not only showcases the material cycle of the new manufacturing norm but also creates banknotes out of the Bacterial cellulose material during the process. The apparatus plays with the correlation between the creation of “Material “and “wealth” simultaneously in the present and fictional spaces. Within the current economic reality, what is our relationship with wealth and natural resources, when economic growth can be viewed as an increase in the number of material resources converted to economic activity?
BIO-MARKET — Bio-economy has made our basic human right of acquiring material resources as a new luxury. A Bio-capacity market has shown up, allowing individuals and companies to free trade excess credit. This growing market has triggered many new economic activities that never exist in human history. This results in the creation of a high-frequency exchange that dictates prices in real-time. The demand for resources hardly knows an upper limit. We can live in ever-bigger homes, own more residences, and drive cars or ride planes almost as much as we like, provided we have the money. What will happen when this all goes away?

FOOTPRINTER — Your personal bio-account is linked to the bio market. If biocapacity is our annual salary, our footprint is the spending of nature to sustain our lifestyle. Foot-printer prints out our footprint statement of all material consumption you make, showing how many natural resources each purchase costs and how easy it is to achieve credit-deficit. The Footprinter prints out your ecological footprint of each month and different consumption categories. On the device itself, the remaining bio-capacity allowance is shown in the unit of global square meters.

CAPACITY SELF-CHECKOUT MACHINE — Now, People get access to the trading platform in various forms, digitally and physically. It is now enabled and run by an algorithm to monitor its health strictly and avoid speculation. Observed from people’s daily routine as a consumer, self-checkout machines were repurposed as an entry-point to the scenario Physical marketplace now provides self-checkout machines, allowing customers to purchase more bio-capacity via the trading platform. Unlike the current commodity market, often manipulated by the rich. Capacity trading deals with the fruits of bio-capacity- end products.
It’s much easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism. Although the economy is omnipresent in our daily lives, it is often regarded as boring, uninteresting, and too complicated. People are not aware of the economic realities that happen to them, and being dominated by the formality of it.

Ecotopia presents a fictional economic reality. Ecotopia sets the time in a pragmatic future with two main world rules that are different from the world we currently occupy. In this world, a truly sustainable economy is functioning within the limits of our natural capital. Ecotopia disciplined the usage of natural resources at average bio-capacity. Therefore, there is a fixed amount of bio-capacity everyone has according to the planet each year, a parallel bio-credit system limiting resource usage for each individual.


Jan 2020 - June 2020
BiodesigncapitalismEconomySpeculative DesignSustainability

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