Solution Hack for Journalists

Barcelona, 14-15 November 2018

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What is ‘Solution Hack for Journalists’?

The Solution Hack for Journalists is a 2-day masterclass that combines training on the Disruptive Design Method and application of the method to assess climate solutions.

In partnership with Disrupt Design founded by Leyla Acaroglu, the UNEP Champion of the Earth, the Solution Hack for Journalists offers a free training on a method that helps journalists get information on the big picture of climate and global changes, so they can ask the right questions.

Our Barcelona edition offers a full 2-day masterclass for 16 journalists to explore the world of eco-friendly business practices and sustainable product development. Held on 14-15 November 2018, the masterclass will focus on life cycle thinking to understand how the product is made, used and disposed. With a method to get a bigger picture, it helps journalists ask the pointed questions when covering sustainable, bio-based products and business practices.

The selected journalists will get:

  • Training on the Disruptive Design Method (DDM) and 'Product Cycle Thinking' with a certified trainer from Disrupt Design
  • Field visit to the Cork Oak Forests in El Baix Empordà in Girona, featured in the film ‘Petra’ (2018)
  • Possibility to engage with mayors, architects, city planners at the Biocities Forum
  • Option to explore new city-based initiatives and business practices at Smart City Expo

Our Barcelona edition offers not only a free training on the Disruptive Design Method but also an opportunity to meet mayors, designers and practitioners, including Stefano Boeri Architetti, a famous Italian architectural firm that has designed these skyscrapers out of wood. 


Everything in the world is interconnected. All of our everyday actions have an impact on people, society and our planet: we need to try to see the bigger picture.

This is especially important as we face some of the biggest global challenges in decades.

Our current model for addressing climate change is not sustainable in the long run. According to the group of 1,300 scientific experts in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, our human activities over the past 50 years have accelerated climate change. The current growth-based economy is not working, and our lifestyle is clearly not sustainable:

Our natural resources are becoming scarce, but we are living in a throw-away society. According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s report, the fashion industry's current disposal-based system causes greenhouse gas emissions of 1.2 billion tonnes a year. We use too many single-use plastics and if we don’t stop now, the plastic industry is projected to account for 20% of the total oil consumption in the world by 2025. Some cities are taking action to reduce their CO2 emissions through a global partnership that includes around 90 of the biggest cities in the world. But can we really say these efforts will make our world a better place? Is it enough to solve the problem we are facing?

You can’t see the forest for the trees.

We need a new paradigm and change only happens when the society is informed with knowledge and facts. If we want to see a better world, we need to revisit the way we consume and start to reuse, recycle and reduce. We need ‘out of the box’ solutions to tackle sustainability challenges and a new method to look at the whole picture. Journalists have a role to play. The way they tell the world’s problems and report on the possible solutions is what can make an impact on society and drive change.


Disruptive Design Method

The Disruptive Design Method (DDM) helps journalists understand how systems work to see the big picture. It applies systems thinking, life cycle and sustainability sciences along with design methodologies to enable complex problem exploration and solutions. Journalists can greatly benefit from this approach as it enables a rapid dissection of the cause and effect relationships that often reinforce critical global issues.

The method is about:

  1. Mining: dive deep into the problem and explore its elements
  2. Landscaping: map the system to see how its elements interact
  3. Building: generate disruptive ideas, test them and prototype them

This innovative approach helps to understand the whole picture of any situation. And only when you understand the whole picture can you ask the right questions. Our Solution Hack will give you the tools to think differently, to have a systematic approach and look into how interconnected systems are.


"Disruptive Design is a design with an intent, to intervene in a system to make positive change."
Leyla Acaroglu
Founder of Disrupt Design and UNEP Champion of the Earth


Through the Solution Hack for Journalists, you will:

  • Get a free training on the Disruptive Design Method (DDM)
  • Visit a local cork oak forest with local scientists to apply DDM
  • Learn new tools and methods to better report on eco-friendly initiatives
  • Meet and engage with architects, urban planners, mayors, and material designers
  • Become part of a community of international journalists with shared interests



The Solution Hack for Journalists is for all journalists who are interested in the Disruptive Design Method and willing to apply in their day-to-day reporting. The Hack in Barcelona is particularly relevant for journalists who are covering:

  • Environment & Natural Science
  • Urban Planning & Architecture
  • Economy & Business
  • Lifestyle & Products

Marcus Wendin

Marcus has the mission to contribute to sustainable development by making people and competences meet across boundaries of culture and disciplines. The common goals of sustainability are used to create cooperation. Most often that is in product development. 

Since 1998, Marcus has worked with environmental assessments through the Life Cycle Assessment method. At the beginning at Volvo Technology and since 2003 in his own company Miljögiraff. With a lifecycle perspective on the product systems, Miljögiraff helps organizations to develop sustainable solutions. Marcus subscribes to the message of Disruptive design and shares much of the experience that it is high time to "get things done".

Imagine new ways of finding solutions and redesign the future.

13 November 2018 [OPTIONAL]

9:00-16:30      Participation in Bioregions Forum OR Smart City Expo

20:00-             Networking dinner


14 November 2018

9:00-14:30      Participation in BioCities Forum incl. lunch

14:30-15:00    Transfer to the venue


15:00-15:15 Welcome + Group Intro (15 min)

15:15-15:30 Systems Thinking: Why we need to think in system? (15 min)

15:30-15:35 Three Complex Systems (5 min)

15:35-15:45 Disruptive Design Method Principles: Mining, Landscaping, Building (10 min)

15:45-16:15 Brain Wiring: Cluster Map on Climate Change (30 min)

16:15-16:20 Feedback loops (5 min)

16:20-16:40 Coffee Break (15 min)

16:40-17:00 Introduction to Life Cycle Thinking (20 min)

17:00-18:00 Deep-Dive: Life Cycle Stages (60 min)

18:00-18:15 Round-up of Day 1 (15 min)

20:00-22:00 Dinner hosted by the European Commission Representation in Barcelona


15 November 2018

8:30-10:30       Meeting in the hotel lobby and transfer to El Baix Empordà in Girona

Phase 2: APPLY

10:30-15:30 Mining & Landscaping: Field Visit to the Cork Oak Forests + Conversation with Scientists and Forest Owners + Visit to Cork Producer incl. lunch (4.5 hours)

15:30-16:00 Causality Loop: How our (in)actions result effects? (30 min)

16:00-17:30 Next Steps: Turning into a story + Round of Day 2 (90 min)
Ewa Hermanowicz, EUFORGEN
Julie Marechal Perkins, UN-Habitat

17:30-19:30 Transfer back to Barcelona

19:30-21:00 Optional Dinner in Barcelona



Note: The programme provides most meals and transportation to all venues for all journalists, as well as flights and accommodation for those based outside of Barcelona.

Solution Hack for Journalists - Barcelona edition
What did journalists think about the Solution Hack for Journalists?

"The Disruptive Design Method forces you to think outside the box and not always assume it's correct because it's popular."

- Lisa MacGregor, News Anchor, Global News Canada

"Understanding the life cycle of everyday products is key to exposing how they impact our world. For journalists, knowing how the components of a pen come together or where the beans in a cup of coffee are grown is the first step in empowering readers to make the changes needed to build a healthier planet."

- Alok Jha, Science Correspondent, The Economist

"The mixed group of editors, reporters and freelancers was valuable because it increases opportunities for all of us to collaborate in the future."
- Linda Givetash, a London-based freelance journalist for NBC News

"It is like learning a different way of thinking."
- Qing Wang, Europe Correspondent, Jiemian 


"Approaching any story on a complex system, I'll be able to look back at what I learned to know what kind of questions to ask."
- Peter Mellgard, the Features Editor,The WorldPost, a partnership project between The Washington Post and the Berggruen Institute

"The Disruptive Design Method reminds us to look for the source of the problem, look beyond the mere events and show the readers complete pictures of issues, with possible causes and effects.

-Irene Baños, Journalist, Deutsche Welle

"I would expect that out of this workshop we can create better stories, better transnational reporting and better collaborative projects."

- Diego Arguedas Ortiz, Editor, Ojo al Clima


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