Co-creating Innovative Experiences in Sustainable Agriculture
In recent years, with population growth, economic development, the progress of science and technology, highly commercialized global agricultural development, and the pursuit of a high return on investments, rapid changes in the development and ecology of rural areas have occurred; for example, the pollution of the ecological environment from various chemical residues, or the aging and relocation of the rural population caused by urbanization and rapid commercial and industrial development. On the other hand, along with the rise of experience economy, many industries have introduced innovative service experiences that not only enhance existing value, it also creates a new blue ocean situation. According to current trends, "agricultural" development attempts to recreate new development opportunities through service innovation. Therefore, the ASLIS2014 theme is "Co-creating Innovative Experiences in Sustainable Agriculture" and focuses on the two major notions "local agriculture" and "sustainable development" to hold a five day course from May 7th - 11th, 2014.

This year's curriculum design emphasizes the teaching methods of "living labs" and "experiential teaching and learning." Moreover, local and foreign students with different areas of expertise and cultural backgrounds will cooperate under the structure of service design thinking. Through their different professions, perspectives, and experiences, the students can focus on local agriculture and the problems they observe in the field to co-create a practical proposal in hopes of implementing smart life and design concepts locally and achieving sustainable development.

Following the successful ASLIS2012 experience and for the long-term creation of a local demonstration field for smart life, ASLIS2014 will again choose Yilan County that is rich in local cultural and agricultural resources as the course location this time. Yilan County is located in the northeast of the Taiwan Island and has unique agricultural products, culture, and geographical environment. Since the Hsuehshan Tunnel was opened in 2006, Yilan has become the veritable "backyard of Taipei." In addition, along with the growth of Taiwan's socio-economic level and the implementation of two-day weekends, people now pay more attention to their recreational lives so that Yilan County has become a famous tourist attraction in Taiwan, and the related agricultural specialties and experience travel have developed rapidly. After in-depth exploration and discussions, ASLIS2014 chose Jiaosi Township, Sanxing Township, and Wujie Township of Yilan County as the three main learning fields of ASLIS2014.

In the first place, Jiaosi Township is famous for its hot springs, the colorless and odorless water is rich in minerals and besides being good for the skin, it is also used locally to irrigate "hot springs fruit and vegetables" and produce high quality hot springs water spinach and tomatoes. Second, Sanxing Township is known for its "Sanxing green onion." The abundant rainfall and rich soil also bear famous agricultural products such as garlic, pears, and silver willow. Finally, Wujie Township produces rice and is called the "barn of Lanyang plain." Among the different types, "Yueguang Rice" which seedlings were imported from Japan and "Wunong Rice" are the most popular. Therefore, ASLIS2014 courses will be held in the three townships, in hopes of providing the students with more in-depth and diverse "local agricultural" experiences. The students will also meet and discuss with local organization representatives and farmers to help students examine problems from different dimensions to stimulate new ideas and produce innovative design proposals.

Secondly, from the dimension of "sustainable development," according to the 1987 publication of "Our Common Future" by the World Commission on Environment and Development," it refers to three important factors of sustainable development: 1 ) economic growth, 2 ) social inclusion and 3 ) environmental stewardship. First, in economic growth, to be able to continue the promotion and diffusion of sustainable development, it must be able to generate value in the economy, and at the same time, it must also ensure that natural resources are not destroyed and economic benefits are maximized in order for sustainability to be maintained. Second, in social inclusion, sustainability refers to meeting people's needs and social justice, which includes avoiding poverty and improving people's quality of education, health, and their lives and work, so they can go on to pursue ideal lifestyles. Third, in environmental stewardship, people have to learn how to manage resources of the natural environment, properly allocate the development and utilization of natural resources, and reduce damage towards the environment. The combination of these three elements will meet the needs of residents at this stage and will not damage the interests of future generations, so true sustainable development can be achieved.

However, Jiaosi Township, Sanxing Township, and Wujie Township selected by ASLIS2014, face problems and challenges, such as the decline and relocation of younger populations, rural aging, lack of talents and capital, and difficulty in sales and marketing transitioning, which are all strong threats to innovative development and the sustainable management of local agriculture. Thus, through the interdisciplinary and transnational perspectives and expertise of ASLIS2014, we look forward to examining the core issues to generate new opportunities and success stories so that the younger generations can see the possibilities, continue to invest in the innovation of Yilan agriculture, and form a positive sustainable cycle.

Sustainable development 

From Farm to Fork

The ASLIS2014 theme this year is "Co-Creating Innovative Experiences in Sustainable Agriculture" which focuses on two major issues: "local agriculture" and "sustainable development." It hopes that while focusing on the innovative development of local agriculture, three key factors of sustainable development can also be fulfilled: economic growth, social inclusion, and environmental stewardship. Therefore, the core of the curriculum design is the industry value chain encompassing the origins to end consumer. In addition, the "from farm to fork" concept describes relationships and problems in the value chain, such as planting, distribution, packaging, food production, customer experience, and brand, in hopes of discovering possible innovation opportunities in the future.

Among them, in the "from farm to fork" value chain, the ASLIS2014 curriculum explores: 1) farmlands cultivated by smallholders, 2) local sales platforms, and 3) commercial terminal market channels. This curriculum hopes that after participants experience the key stages of the above value chain, they can understand the thought processes of different stakeholders in the context of agricultural development as well as the expectations and needs of consumers toward the "food" on their forks; thus allowing participants to reflect on and co-create designs based on the values proposed by service providers and service receivers, so local agriculture can find innovative design opportunities and business models, and achieve sustainable development.

The 4Ds Process
Service Design Process
As the goal of service design is to design user-friendly services and products according to the needs of customers or participants, the 4Ds process presents a knowledge creation process. The 4Ds process presents a simple graphical method for describing the design process and is divided into four phases: Discover, Define, Develop, and Deliver. These phases map the divergent and convergent parts of the design process from scattered thinking and idea points to distinct objectives.

The 4Ds process

To mark the start of the project, the ASLIS2014 participants will be accommodated in a real life setting. The needs, issues or problem of the products and activities will be observed and identified by the participants through the designed experiential activities and exploration of local communities.

Continue exploring the problem, findings from the Discover stage will be collected and initial ideas for solutions will be pitched and prototyped.

The ASLIS2014 participants will be coached to develop several concepts that will address the problems or issues that were identified during the Discover and Define stages.

The concepts of a product or service that successfully address the problem identified during the Develop stage will be delivered and presented by the participants

Group discussion

Exploring service issues