Hein’s graduation project

This is …

Hein is in the Strategic Product Design master program and one of our graduation students within the Belonging Project. With his graduation project, he aims to build a sense of belonging among youth through increasing body satisfaction.

Role of design

Recently, Hein has been inspired by several modern thinkers, such as Yuval Noah Harari (Sapiens), Kate Raworth (Doughnut Economics), Michel Foucault (The History of Sexuality) and Daniel Kahneman (Thinking Fast and Slow) about the interplay between human nature and culture (for a lack of a better distinction) and between human wellbeing, the manner in which society is organised and its relationship with the natural world. Especially discovering the fluid nature of many of the beliefs concerning this interplay throughout history has increased his awareness of the role designers can play to reshape these beliefs and improve their usefulness for humanity, however small a designers’ individual impact may be.

Body dissatisfaction

One of the beliefs impacting wellbeing at the moment is the growing societal importance of having a perfect body, propelled by professional influencers posting photos of their highly trained thin and/or muscular bodies, often achieved through a strict diet and fitness regime. The increasing focus on healthy lifestyles due to prevention and lifestyle interventions within healthcare can contribute to this further, though for many individuals this focus on a perfect body can result in body dissatisfaction, which in turn can trigger defence mechanisms such as compensation and social avoidance, as well as lead to anxiety and depression.

Goal of the project

With his graduation project, Hein aims to map and then reframe the current problem space around body dissatisfaction and loneliness and the role of different stakeholders within it. This will lead to new insights and approaches to increase body satisfaction and build a sense of belonging among vulnerable demographics.

Approach

As a strategic designer, Hein is adept at combining theoretical knowledge, user- (and market) research and creative techniques to create new perspectives on existing issues. For sensitive subjects such as body dissatisfaction, it is important to gather many perspectives on the problem. For a designer this means going outside of your comfort zone to listen to other people’s experiences and opinions. This human-centred approach is necessary to discover the full spectrum of issues around the problem space.

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