ARC

Use design thinking and service design to bring new ideas for defining the space and the visitor experience for the Danish waste plant ARC. Bachelor project for KEA, Copenhagen School of Design & Technology. Digital Concept Design studies. Year 2016. Group members: Mirela Stoian, Ovi Bejinariu, Christian Scully, Edgaras Benediktavicius, Mikołaj Tak Mikucki and Rita Marantos

Amager Ressource Center (ARC) is a waste disposal plant owned by 5 Copenhagen Municipalities. The primary operations revolve around waste management including collecting, sorting,and recycling. ARC is unique in that it turns the waste it receives into energy and heat, which is distributed back to Copenhagen. Simultaneously ARC runs a Visitor Center that provides educational experiences for a variety of target groups and is focused on the environmental aspects of waste. 

Next year the visitor center will move into the new Amager Bakke/Copenslope plant designed by Architect Bjarke Ingels. This a unique opportunity for ARC to update their existing educational experience for their visitors. New ideas and inspiration are needed to define the new space and the visitor experience!
To fully appreciate and understand the ARC visitor journey, it was necessary to visit the plant a second time and step into the shoes of the customer. The team went there during a high school visit and studied it in detail from arrival until departure.

It was noticed that the communication was primarily one way. Despite the ARC presenters best efforts to engage the students, only a few them actively participated in the Q & A´s.The students were seated around classroom tables. The students lost their attention during an instructional video and the following chemistry experiment. They displayed a similar disinterest during the concluding guided tour. The chemistry experiment and the sharing of results seemed disorganized and chaotic. The amount of lab instruments were insufficient - not everyone got their chance to work. There was little team activity. The visitor center presentations and experiment seemed disconnected with the tour of the plant.

Interviews with the accompanying high school teacher and the ARC presenters revealed that they wanted an engaging experience, where students could work more actively and hands-on. The presenters did not like the powerpoint presentations. They wanted to transition their role from presenter to facilitator, and help the students learn through assignments. 
 All our field research was meticulously documented through notes, photos and interviews. A holistic approach was taken, studying all touch points - not only the actual “ride” itself.
These insights proved to be a valuable resource that would be continually referred back to during our discussions and reflections.

They were a great help when brainstorming for solutions, as we could review and sum up key points of every visit. It offered an overview when looking for patterns, themes and commonality between attractions.
From the Insights gathered and analyzed it can be concluded that interactivity is an essential component if an educational experience is to become memorable. With this in mind, the concept is focused on the visitor's perspective and their entire experience. Beginning from the first moment they hear about ARC, until the moment of return and they reflect upon their visit.

A user journey has been mapped out to define both the tangible and digital elements for the students. Beginning at school, the students and teacher receive introductory PDF’s and register as teams. In order for the students to better relate to waste management and their role in it, they are urged to bring with them one item of personally sorted trash. On return they will reflect by discussing their teamwork efforts and possibly revise areas where they underperformed. Furthermore they will be sent personalized 3D printed keepsakes (made of recycled plastic from the plant) which they designed whilst at the visitor center.
The concept´s main focuses on creating a more immersive experience at the new visitor centre. From the research carried out, it was concluded that this is the place where visitors spend the most time and where most of the improvements could be accomplished.

User experiences, both for digital and analogue solutions, were investigated and carefully analyzed, discussed and evaluated and held against both the client goal and their users.

We prototyped an interactive solution that was based on an evaluation of all our insights, that would encompass all the elements that are required to make a visit at ARC more interactive, engaging, educational and memorable. Then we searched for technology that could best support our ideas.

Interactive round tables fulfill the baseline requirements we wanted in our solution. They facilitate and enable team work, they can be scaled to work for different target groups and purposes. The flexibility allows ARC to create a myriad of different experiences, enable gamification, foster exploration, interaction with hands and even design.
A prototype was created to test the idea thoroughly. It was needed in order to get the look and feel, and visualize the possibilities of the concept. 

The prototype consisted of having a projector mounted to the ceiling projecting animated presentations from above over a round table where test persons could gather around. The different games and information were displayed and presented to the client. It turned into an interactive presentation where the client joined in.