Participation as a design principle

  • Exhibitions and Scenography
  • Graphic Design
  • Development of Ideas and Identities
  • Illustration
  • Interaction Design
  • Logo Design
  • Motion Graphics
  • Coding
  • Text

»Actually, it is more an action platform than an exhibition,« says Carsten Dempewolf, GfG Managing Director and responsible for the scenography of the interactive exhibition »EY ALTER« at Universum Bremen.

The initiative for the exhibition about and around the age came from the human resources management of a large automotive group. Heino Niederhausen, HR manager of Mercedes-Benz plant Bremen approached us already in 2014. His question: Is it possible to transfer the subject »Demographic change and its consequences for the working world« into an exhibition? In order to sensitize the employees of Daimler to this process, to the opportunities and tasks arising from the new age pattern of young and old in Germany? It works! How good it works became visible after two years of development with the participation of experts from science, human resources management, and exhibition organizers. Participation is method, aim, and success factor for a format that has long been shining beyond the exhibition venue Universum® Bremen. »EY ALTER« takes place everywhere: on the street, in social media, on the web, in radio features, and in the press. After Bremen, other exhibition locations such as Stuttgart and Berlin are also in the planning and in discussion.

To create personal access. To make demography and age tangible and touchable. To turn employees into ambassadors. Watch here how design with participation has become a success factor for »EY ALTER«:

Music by: Yes She Can (Marcos H. Bolanos) / CC BY-SA 4.0 and Falling into You (Little Glass Men) / CC BY 4.0

The exhibition

Age has an influence on our thinking, and our thinking determines age – it is all in your head. From a central interactive head model, impulse circuits are moving into different exhibition areas. With the »EYCARD«, at 20 interactive stations visitors discover that they have more than one age, that the personal potential does not always depend on the years of life, and that successful teams work best with a suitable mixture of potentials and generations.

Interactive and informative presentations alternate, media stations attract attention, and hands-on exhibits call for the use of head and body. At the end of the exhibition, the visitors receive a personal certificate as well as suggestions for the positive shaping of the future in the changing age mix.

The first ideas for the exhibition were developed in workshops and tested in dummies in our iD-Werkstatt. In a backdrop of test setups, Daimler executives got an impression of the exhibition idea and quickly developed enthusiasm for the playful education formats. A curatorial team from Mercedes-Benz, GfG, and Jacobs University Bremen collected, tested, and sorted content and educational approaches. The profile of the exhibition sharpened more and more. And then it happened: the exhibition was opened at Universum® Bremen on October 23rd, 2015.

... Workshop about the exhibition in our iD-Werkstatt (above) ... and this is the implementation at Universum® Bremen:

The campaign

Young and old: Against or with each other? At the Bremen Mercedes-Benz plant, the aim is clear: “Young and Experienced together Successful”, in short: Y.E.S., is the motto and the mission. For the campaign of the exhibition EY ALTER, we took advantage of the Mercedes-Benz spirit and portrayed the employees from the plant. More than 40 young and experienced heads were photographed and placed side by side, complemented by certain messages. Humanly and honestly, they reflect the relationships between different generations at the workplace. The effect of the campaign? Again, participation is highly effective. Real employees make real statements. The relevance of the subject for “people like you and me” becomes clear. And all the participants are proud to find themselves in the streets and in various media.

In addition, we asked the question of age on the streets: Are you young or old? Make a decision! By setting up a “decision gate”, we were able to address people directly at the Bremen Mercedes-Benz plant and in downtown Bremen. We got exciting statements about the relativity of age. You can find the trailer here.

The website and social media

Age is diverse, and the challenges surrounding demographic change are particularly relevant. Daimler, as well as other companies and corporations, is affected to a large extent by changing age structures. The website promotes discourse. What a blessing to have so much experience in the companies! How can one retain this knowledge, how can the exchange of know-how be organized, how can young and experienced learn from each other? Blog, Facebook, Twitter: Your input is required. The age is full of opportunities, and the more people are thinking, the more new ideas arise in the minds.