Searching for just innovation processes
One of the cases in her research is cloth-diapering, where she is looking at its material designs and practices. It is about the role women’s knowledge, sewing machines and other stuff have had in revitalizing the use of cloth-diapers and thus contributes to change how families manage their poo.
The other cases are different in that they are not western modern concepts, but present design in not the most obvious environments. One case is in Kenya, another in Colombia, and the third in a research forest in Finland. Botero Cabrera wants to dig deep in different places to find out what is innovation and creation in these locations and the locals’ ways of doing.
Her final aim is to find more just innovation processes. The work combines design research, science and technology studies and innovation studies. Botero Cabrera works in the blurred area between these, trying to find the red thread between the cases.
‘I believe all innovation processes are collective’, she says.
The cases and areas look at first sight very far apart. But Botero Cabrera’s idea is that putting them together might bring not so recognized voices into what we think and hear of innovation and design. She thinks we need to understand innovation and design in more plural terms. Her research also combines issues facing the global North and South, creating dialogue between them.
Botero Cabrera came to Finland to study master’s degree in TAIK. After graduation in 1999 she went back to Colombia but returned for doctoral studies.
Then ‘life happened’: she got children and a Finnish husband and finished her studies in 2013. So she stayed. After working on as post doc an Academy funded project on digital research infrastructures in University of Oulu she came back to Aalto last year.
When choosing her study destination as a young student she thought Finland is part of Scandinavia, and Scandinavian design is of interest to her.
‘I appreciate very much the system here and everything, and the way of working. I admire Finnish and Finnishness, their persistence and stubbornness, and calmness and kindness – it’s stable basis, which is good in this shaking and changing world. But it sometimes does frustrate me, too.’
Academy funding starts in September and she’s planning to do her mobility during the first two years. She has already identified some projects in Colombia, as well as some collaboration in Australia, where she has colleagues working on similar topics.
In the end there will be a book, and several articles. She’s also planning to do some installations to discuss her observations with different kinds of people.
During the summer Botero Cabrera got also an H2020 grant for her research – which makes her laugh she’s victim to her own success. But a lucky one.
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Industrial designer Andrea Botero Cabrera
- BA in Industrial Design (Universidad Nacional de Colombia)
- MA Product and Strategic Design (Aalto ARTS - formerly TAIK)
- Doctor of Arts in 2013 (Aalto ARTS/media dept)
- Academy Research Fellow (Aalto ARTS/dept of design)
Hobbies: 'I love reading, drawing and painting. I also like gardening, but I’m very bad at it. I want to improve.’