It's no secret that just about anywhere you go in the Netherlands is an incredible place to bicycle. And in Groningen, a northern city with a population of 190,000 and a bike mode share of 50 percent, the cycling is as comfortable as in any city on Earth. The sheer number of people riding at any one time will astound you, as will the absence of automobiles in the city center, where cars seem extinct. It is remarkable just how quiet the city is. People go about their business running errands by bike, going to work by bike, and even holding hands by bike.
The story of how they got there is a mix of great transportation policy, location and chance. You'll learn quite a bit of history in the film, but essentially Groningen decided in the 1970s to enact policies to make it easier to walk and bike, and discourage the use of cars in the city center. By pedestrianizing some streets, building cycle tracks everywhere, and creating a unique transportation circulation pattern that prohibits vehicles from cutting through the city, Groningen actually made the bicycle -- in most cases -- the fastest and most preferred choice of transportation.
It does feel like bicycle nirvana. When I first got off the train in Groningen, I couldn't stop smiling at what I saw around me. In an email exchange with my friend Jonathan Maus from Bike Portland, he described it as being "like a fairy tale." This jibed with my first thought to him -- that I had "entered the game Candyland, but for bikes!" In fact, for our teaser I originally titled this Streetfilm "Groningen: The Bicycle World of Your Dreams," before I talked myself out of it. Although there is a magical quality about being there, in reality there is nothing dreamy or childlike about it. With political will and planning, what they have done should and can be done everywhere.
In our Streetfilm you'll see the 10,000 (!) bicycle parking spaces at the train station, some of the incredible infrastructure that enables cyclists to make their journeys safer and quicker, and you'll hear from many residents we encountered who go by bike just about everywhere they travel. But as one of my interview subjects, Professor Ashworth, wanted me to point out: the three days I was there were bright and sunny, and the hardy people keep up the bicycling through the cold winters. As with many bicycling cities, there area also big problems with cycle theft, and residents are always yearning for more bicycle parking.
I think most of us would trade some of those problems for a city with 50 percent mode share (and up to 60 percent in the city center!!).
Design and business can no longer be thought of as distinct activities with individual goals. Design the New Business is a film dedicated to investigating how designers and businesspeople are working together in new ways to solve the wicked problems facing business today.
The short documentary examines how they are joining forces by bringing together an international collection of design service providers, education experts and businesses that have incorporated design as a part of their core approach. Design the New Business features inspiring case studies and insightful discussions, helping to illustrate the state of the relationship and how it needs to continue evolving to meet tomorrow's challenges.
This film is a Zilver Innovation initiative, and was created by 6 students from the Master in Strategic Product Design at the TU Delft in The Netherlands.
Zilver Innovation is now offering workshops that explore this relationship in more depth and the implications for practitioners. For more information, visit our website: designthenewbusiness.com
Featuring (in alphabetical order):
Alexander Osterwalder (Co-Author of Business Model Generation)
Aldo de Jong (Co-Founder at ClaroPartners)
Amanda O’Donnell ( Head of Customer Experience at Virgin Mobile Australia)
Arne van Oosterom (Director & Founder at DesignThinkers)
Arno Wolterman (Managing Partner & Design Director at In10)
Benjamin Schulz (Service Innovation at Volkswagen)
Damian Kernahan (Founding Partner at Proto Partners)
Deniz Arik (Associate at ClaroPartners)
Erik Roscam Abbing (Director & Founder at Zilver Innovation)
Frido Smulders (Coordinator of MSc Strategic Product Design,TU Delft)
Guido Stompff (Senior Product Designer at Canon-Océ Technologies)
Jacco Ouwerkerk (Creative at In10)
Jan Buijs (Assistant Professor at TU Delft)
Joe Heapy (Co-Founder & Co-Director at Engine)
Lukas Golyszny (Service Innovation at Volkswagen)
Maria Bezaitis (Director of Intel's People and Practices Research Group)
Megan Ellis (Associate at ClaroPartners)
Oliver King (Co-Founder & Co-Director at Engine)
Ralf Beuker (Dean at Munster Design School)
Rich Radka (Co-Founder at ClaroPartners)
Ton Borsboom (Senior Director for new Business at Philips Design)
Willem Boijens (Head of R&D at Canon-Océ Technologies)