February 2013. The very first Design in Action Chiasma is taking place in Glasgow’s stylish Citizen M boutique hotel with 22 participants from a wealth of backgrounds ready to embark upon 3 days (and 2 nights) of creative ideation techniques.
Led by Design in Action’s team of researchers around the Wellbeing sector, it primarily focused on self-management and prevention of type-2 diabetes, an issue that affects an estimated 3.8 million people living in the UK today. The event combined passionate and informative keynote speeches (including one from Hollywood actor, University of Dundee Rector and presenter of the BB2 ‘Addicted to…Sugar’ documentary, Brian Cox) with design-thinking activities and processes to inspire its participating teams to uncover and develop innovative solutions around this issue. The best ideas then have the opportunity to apply for up to £20k funding to build a prototype for commercialisation.
One of the most innovative ideas presented was Know Sugar. Originally called ‘No Sugar Shop’, (the name changed during the development process as an acknowledgement to the many foods that contain good sugar), it impressed the Chiasma judges with its clever use of user-centred design and co-design alongside its clear and worthy agenda; to reduce sugar consumption in children and adults, to prompt retailers to take positive action to address the amount of hidden sugars in their products and, ultimately, to change policy.
In August 2014, the first physical store opened for 2 days in Dundee’s Wellgate shopping centre with one goal: to educate and inform the people of Dundee about the dangers of sugar overconsumption and the benefits of a lower-sugar diet.
Dundee-based MSP Jenny Marra opened the store on Friday 8th August, stating that she supported the project’s ethos, “I am delighted to open the Know Sugar Shop in Dundee. We are eating too much sugar and it has a terrible impact on our health, weight and happiness so we have to think hard about how much sugar we consume.”
For two days, the Know Sugar team – made up of Snook Co-Founder Lauren Currie, Ewan MacPherson, Eilidh Ellery and Andy Harrold – along with a dynamic posse of nutritionists, diabetes experts, creative producers, photographers, enthusiasts and DiA helpers rallied shoppers, workers and passers-by and provided them with a one-stop shop to enhancing their awareness of the sugar content in everyday food and drinks.