Designing for nature
through teamwork and collaboration

This group project was done in collaboration with Skogstekniska Klustret, an agency that works with innovation within the forest industry. The core value of the project was to think ahead of today´s design methods by seeing nature itself as a stakeholder, and by having a heavy focus on ethics and diversity. By doing this the goal was to come up with new sustainable solutions that works for both industry and nature.

Thank you Ellinor Werner, Petra Persson, Nikita Zatonskiy
and Lisa Holmgren for excellent team work!

Project: Umeå Institute of Design 
Collaboration partner: Skogstekniska Klustret
Participants: 5 people
Time span: 5 weeks
When: fall 2020

My role as group leader

Being a group leader is not about shouting out orders, it´s about making teamwork.
My role was to give valuable directives and advice to the second year students and the group. It was also about bringing forward everyone´s case, and contributing with a positive attitude to the team. 

Initial brief: focus on transport and logistics

"How can we think about logistics of timber and sustainable transport with nature and human as
customer? Here, for example, there is a need to minimize movements, loading and unloading.
Also to Minimize ground damage, optimize the route, shortest, smartest, why reload,
package them. An underlying question is what the work situation then looks like for people from a holistic point of view and with nature and human as the client?" – Project description


Weight and clumsiness is a problem

Initial research showed that forwarders and harvesters weigh around 20 tons. As these machines operate in the forest, they risk compressing the ground and cause tracks to form. The ground compression affects the condition of the soil and machines that run though wet land risk causing leakage of mercury out into the water cycle.

– How can future forest machinery work in symbiosis with nature through managing soil damage and disruption in a more extreme climate?

Field trip 

We made contact with Sveaskog, Swedens largest forest owner, to do a field trip to an operative harvesting site, where we learned about how transportation at site works. 

I went on a field trip
 timber trucker Rune 

I had the opportunity to closely study how transportation to and from a harvesting site works. The rewarding field trip gave us usefull information that could be used later down the line.


Digital interviews

We tackled the pandemic by doing digital interviews and having digital meetings with experts in the specific field. They gave us usefull information about ground compactaion and how nature directly and inderectly gets affected by the forest industry.
In total we interviwed people from 5 companies during many different meetings; 

Skogstekniska Klustret, Norra Skog, Sveaskog, SCA & SLU

Creating valuable personas

Our personas helped us making our stake holders more tangible, which gave us a better understanding of how to create the optimal solution that would bennefit most. 


Creative workshops

With the help of ideation methods created by IDEO, we set out to compose all research and filter it down into 3 tangible concepts that would make final decision-making more easy.
No idea was too crazy – everything had to be evaluated.  


Resulting in a combination

After having further conversations with target users and previously interviewed experts, we landed in a solution where we took the innovative aspects of concept "Ant" and combined it with the system focus of concept "Planner". 




Ambulo Companion


For great visibility and situation awarness, Ambulo Companion comes equped with a 360 camerahousing with lidar, camera, thermal imagery and night vision.


For the lower region Companion has a series of sensors that constantly keeps track of how it should take the next step.

Companion also has a series of fingers that can tilt inwards,
adapting to how much timber it is carrying.

Ambulo Maps 


With help from the device attached to the workers arm, they are able to see where the Ambulo Companions are walking and also change route when something unplanned happens, like drastic weather change. This is a great tool for the prognostication and planning with nature in mind.

Ambulo Sampler


With the camera and smart interface on the stick you can capture for instance damage on trees and get more information regarding it. The equipment is also used for outlining the area where the companions are able to walk. The Planners job is to lead the Companions in the right direction, and also maintaining them.

With the provided measuring tool in the walking stick the Planner can easily check the condition of the ground.
This is done by pushing down the inner cylinder of the stick 70 cm and then analyzing the soil.

"You delivered a nice concept and I got teary-eyed when you showed me a day in the future of forestry. Fantastic research and final presentation!"

 – Linda Nyström, CEO, Skogstekniska klustret

Learning outcome

– Better at teamwork
– Improving leadership capabilities
– Better understanding of complexity

I learned alot about the value of a well made research during this project. I also got valuable learnings when it comes to leadership and teamwork, and how rewarding it can be when you do it right! This was a very complex project, so I have become better at structuring information and making it more easily understood. 

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