Halkær Kro – Volunteers

Halkær Kro & Kulturcenter is a selfowned institution and is based on volunteer work. It is situated in landscapely areas just a few miles from Nibe – the biggest city in the surroundings and 32 km from Aalborg C. The inn puts its focus on organic food and music. Aside from acting as both a restaurant and a music venue, it is also possible to book the location for private events and various activities.

The Problem

The challenge of this case is how to withhold and develop the volunteer organization in a good way and at the same time to attract new customers.


Group Members

Nik Jensen – Industrial Design, AAU

Per Brønnum Wilhelmsen – Nature- and Cultural Heritage Management, UCN

Darja Minkajeva – Nature- and Cultural Heritage Management, UCN

Maria Langagergaard Vammen – Interactive Digital Media, AAU

Philip Kroer Færch – Interactive Digital Media, AAU

Week 1

Wednesday the 10th of September our group 35 together with group 36 met at “Byens rum” and drove out to Halkær Kro to see the area so we could more easily work with the case and learn something more about the place from a first-person point of view. We met Peter from the board of directors in the house with his young daughter, who also works as a volunteer at the guesthouse. They showed us the house and told us about their history. We also saw the newest part of the house – a newly renovated floor with rooms where it is possible to stay for a night or two. Here, we did the interviews and Peter told us about how the kitchen worked with guest cooks. Afterwards Sigrid – Peter’s daughter - took us outside for a walk. We walked along the closed railroad going from Aalborg to Hvalpsund and we saw the possibility to use the track for tourists on bicycles passing the inn. Afterwards, we walked up a hill and saw the beautiful nature in the local area in a full view. Finally, we interviewed Eskild Romme, who books musicians for concerts.
To visit the inn and to see the surroundings gave us more approaches and ideas, which we worked with during idea generation.
After visiting Halkær Kro, we returned to Aalborg with a lot of video, photo and audio material, which contained the volunteers’ own opinions to the current state of the organization. Furthermore we decided together with group 36 to take a closer look at some of the other non-profit music venues within our geographical reach, to clarify what was working out for these places, and what wasn’t. Last but not least, we took a look at Visit Aalborg as they were one of several places who distributed the brochures of Halkær Kro. We wanted to ask how often people picked up the brochures and why brochures are not there anymore. We also visited 1000Fryd to interview volunteers about what keeps them motivated to work and keep up the organization as well as what they would like to improve in their job. Finally, together with the other group, we compared all the gathered information to our earlier experience at Halkær Kro in order to discover drawbacks and develop new ideas.

We used interviewing as a method to be able to see which problems Halkær Kro had. We made a semi structured interview guide after having discussed what was important to know. The reason we didn't want to have too many questions in advance was that we in this way would be able to see the phenomena which appeared - including the problems - without affecting the interviewees too much with our prejudices. From our interviews we found out that there was a big problem with advertising and the way they present their values. At the same time we got to know that there also were different opinions on how Halkær Kro should work internally, and what benefits the volunteer should have. Furthermore we made some interviews with common people in the streets of Aalborg. This gave us the knowledge that some people know about Halkær Kro, but haven't been there. From this we got an understanding which says that Halkær Kro is not a place where ordinary people from Aalborg wants to come as it is now. Based on interviews with volunteers at Halkær Kro, common people in Aalborg, and workers at Visit Aalborg and Aalborg City, we got a lot of information about the inn, and what people thought about it. We used all the collected data in the following problem solving process.

Video snippets
Instead of video snippets, we made several audio snippets during the interview with the representatives of the organization. This resulted in an effective way for us to obtain a deeper understanding of the problems within the organization, and the way they perceive themselves. In addition to recording the interviews, we also recorded an overview of the house and surroundings on camera, where the interview took place. This helped us in further discussions about what Halkær Kro should add or improve in order to become more popular for both visitors and volunteers.

Object Theatre
On 11th September Anete Strand from Aalborg University came to “Byens rum” and told us about the Object Theatre. With that, we were able to see the problem from another angle. We went to Nordkraft together with group 36 to try out the method in practice. We had to choose different things to put in the sand, like LEGO, houses, animals, trees and so on. But we were not allowed to communicate with each other while doing so. When that part of the process was done, we started describing the scenery in the sandpit, and discussing what it might mean, and getting a clearer picture of our perception of the current situation at Halkær Kro. For example, the scenery in the sandpit emphasized that the inn is placed in an idyllic area with a nearby lake and near Limfjorden. However, there is little/no phone service, which leads to the conclusion that the place is a bit “far out”. We also placed a globe in the sand, which symbolized a wish for the inn to be global. While discussing, Anete joined us, drew our attention to a peculiar scene and provided us with another point of view on how to see and interpret the scenery. Afterwards we changed the layout to discover what it was we wanted to do with the inn.


Object Theatre was a valid tool to gain different perspectives of our case and it helped us to get a better understanding of Halkær Kro; what their current situation and problems are and where we want them to go. Working with the other group was also very interesting and helpful as we got more ideas and more perspectives.

Week 2

We started the second week with a visit from our clients, showing them a presentation of the issues we found in Helkær Kro. We had a discussion about what we found out in surveys regarding Visit Aalborg and 1000fryd, and what our case study clients thought about it. However, it seemed a bit hard for them to accept these problems, because it was connected with them personally as they had been running Halkær Kro for a long time. In order to prepare making video sketches this week we started to select three issues from the presentation that we would continue to work with and how these could be solved.

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Design Fiction
We used a camera to film our three concepts and create a feeling of how they would potentially work in the future. We wanted to present possible solutions to the problems that we chose to work with: volunteer organization, event variety and summer-time opening hours. Regarding this, our client had to choose one concept to be developed further.

To provide an overview and avoid forgetting important tasks we used a method, where we made three headlines: ”Planned”, “Started” and “Done”. In this way, we had an overview of the full workflow all the time. The method made it easier for us to distribute the work in between us and we saved time because it was easier to go directly to the tasks each morning. The tasks were written on post-its, which we continuously moved to the right, as the tasks were created. Whenever we started a task we moved the post-it to “Started” and when the task was finished, it was moved to “Done”. This was also a motivation for us, as it was satisfying to see how many tasks we did.


Core Design
After this we pasted the different concepts in the model Generic Core Design, which was presented by Claus Rosenstand. This method gave us an understanding of our design, which elements would be nice to have and which ones were necessary. This way, it was clear what the core of our design was and therefore we could see if the concept was sustainable.
After we met our guests from Halkær Kro and presented them to the video sketches, we found the core problem we thought they have at the inn. The said problem was placed in the middle of the circle, the core. Then we made a brainstorm in order to find way to solve the problem. Making lots of keywords has helped us to shape the solution into being what to us seems suitable.

Storyboards played a big part in the process because they acted as a map for video sketching. Furthermore they gave us an idea of which props we needed when we recorded the scenes. E.g. we used a telephone, some pictures, and 6-8 persons. It was a problem to find 6-8 actors, who had time for recordings. The solution to this was to create a stop motion movie with LEGO. When we worked with the clips in Adobe Premiere, we used the storyboards again. In this way it was easy to make the video sketches because we had the storyboards as guidelines to work from.

Week 3

Meeting with Halkær
After producing separate video sketches for three different possible problems to work with, the first thing we did during the last week of the workshop was to meet up with the client again. We presented our ideas to them, and afterwards they had the chance to internally discuss which one they thought would be most beneficial to go forward with. The meeting went well, and together we settled on the concept of a digital intranet to be used by both the volunteers and the board members. Our hopes were that an application such as this would ease the strain on the internal communication between the different groupings of volunteers in the house.

Further developing the concept
When we finished our dialogue with the people from Halkær Kro on Monday 22nd, we had a problem to work with, and a vision of a possible solution. What we would have to do next was explicitate and deepen our own understanding of said solution. Therefore we sat down with the model of Generic Core Design, previously presented to us by Claus Rosenstand. We used the model to express which functions we would like for our design to incorporate, and to rank these after how important they would be to the finished product. Furthermore we combined the use of the model with a mind map to keep track of which functions were related, and how. This made it possible for us not only to create a more concrete depiction of a concept, that had been very abstract until this point – but also to create a stronger mutual understanding within the group, of the product we were developing.

Design Fiction - prototyping and preparing
After specifying the features of our design, we began creating a prototype that would also be used in the presentational video during the final showing of the product on Friday 28th. In the video, we decided to go down the path of Design Fiction, and try to give the audience a taste of how day-to-day volunteer activities would be different using our solution. As a result of this, the requirements to our prototype ended up as somewhat more elaborate, than what would otherwise have been the case. The interface would have to be more elaborate and seem easily navigable. In order to obtain this goal, we decided to upgrade the analog mock-up that we already used (see concept video 1 and 2) to depict the potential within the design.
1. koncept

2. koncept

3. koncept

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