Friday, September 21, 2007

The Swedes Just Do It Right

A buddy of mine is in town from the US. He’s been to Sweden before, even having studied in Uppsala at the university for a semester and he’s returned since. He is still amazed by the Swedish efficiency and design and how everything seems to be on time. Everything seems to be designed to do what needs to be done with the least amount of effort. He’s also a design guy though so he takes greater notice of what is going on around him when it comes to that sort of thing.

Sweden is well known for their design capabilities. IKEA, H&M, Saab and Volvo, well designed products that the entire world is familiar with. Most of which kind of sticks to this minimalist idea of getting the most out of the product without going overboard. Efficiency is key. I credit the Swedish winters for that what with the cold and the darkness people don’t want to waste any sort of energy on things that aren’t that important and instead focus on the things that are, like the safety of a Volvo. Anyway, having been here in Sweden for a while now, and having acclimated in some sense to the Swedish design that surrounds me I think I’m losing touch with the good work they do.

I just haven’t been impressed with the design and functionality of things here lately. In fact, I’ve been noticing that trains and busses have been running late quite a bit. It drives me crazy. Of course, when I stop to think about it, this running late tends to mean that the trains are a couple of minutes delayed for one reason or another but still. Maybe, I have been spoiled by the Swedish punctuality and efficiency that I take it for granted and only notice when things don’t work as they should. That seems very Swedish actually. When you get used to things being a certain way and working as they are meant to work all the time you start to expect that sort of thing. I seem to have fallen in to that trap. It looks like I’m taking a step in the right direction in regaining some Swedishness though.

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