Human Spirit and Creativity applied to leveraging hidden assets

if you discuss energy efficiency and greening a data center you’ll get a long list of PUE, hot-cold aisle, power systems, air side economizers.  Rarely do you get creative work.  What do I mean by creative?  Consider this post on Design Steps to Heaven.

Design steps to heaven


I recently visted Luzern, in Switzerland, for a workshop at the oldest art and design school in Switzerland, Hochschule Luzern.

My host, Andy Polaine had asked me to set students in the first semester of the MA Design a challenge.

The task I gave them was as follows: find a neglected asset somewhere in Luzern, and design a service to increase its value to the city.

The author had a specific area he thought the students would leverage.

As the workshop began, I assumed that some groups of students would focus on the city's new cultural centre [photo above]. Designed by Jean Novel, the building had taken twenty years to conceive and plan. With an overhanging roof 35m 100 feet) above the ground, the building had cost the city 130 million euros to build.

This was an iconic building with a capital "I". I thought it must surely have potential as the focus of some new kind of civic activity.

But, he was surprised by what one first prize.  A church turned into a climbing wall.

The first joint winner was called 'Straight way to heaven'.


The team had identified a church as their neglected asset,and proposed to increase its value as a meeting place by opening it up to bouldering in the city.

The group did not expect the church authorities to be thrilled by their idea, but our jury found their service communication to be so engaging that they were made joint winners.

How many hidden assets (ideas) are there in the data center industry?

2nd prize was won by students who created a closed-loop service concept for a cemetery.

The second winning project in Luzern, Graveyard Alive, was especially enchanting. The group had discovered that the city's Friedhof Cemetary contained a lot of as-yet-unused space.


They came up with a sublime closed-loop service concept: offer people the opportunity to donate their bodies, once buried, as nutrients to save endangered plants and cultivate biodiversity.