How are designers helping smooth our transition from young confused adults to (even more) confused newborn mothers?

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By Pernille Brun Andersen

Dear reader,

When you read this, I will no longer be at Index but will have gone into maternity leave. With a cheesy brain (forgot my keys and locked myself out twice this week) and an aching, heavy body, my mind has started to prepare for this big change of life and the baby that I’m somehow supposed to keep alive. Many questions and emotions pop up. What kind of mother will I become? Who is that person inside my belly? What is an enema? …


How nature helped the human world innovate

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Image: Kris Mikael Krister

By Simone Søgaard Jacobsen

If you’ve watched documentaries such as ‘A Life On Our Planet’ or ‘My Octopus Teacher’, I would assume it made some sort of impression on you. Yes, pathos was high, but the truth is both David Attenborough and Craig Foster report on a beautiful reality only a few of us have had the fortune of experiencing.

I’m of course referring to the overwhelmingly fascinating natural world, the place where it all began, even before human beings came to be. …


Solving overwhelming tasks from the backseat of a car

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Image: Moheb Anwari

By Abelone Varming, CEO of Design denmark

“I’m happy; I don’t have to build a crane”. The statement comes from my 17-year-old daughter, from the back seat of our car. It’s autumn, and we’re on our way to Helsingborg in Sweden on holiday. We pass a construction site, where an in-progress office complex is materialising by the waterfront. At this moment, nothing could be more distant from this poetic soul than having to build a crane. Fair enough.

But I’m quiet for a while. I wish for my daughter and all youth that they’ll continue to believe they can do anything they set out to do. In that spirit, I continue the conversation. …


Why knowing your colleagues, clients or stakeholders is only half of the equation

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By Liza Chong

In the past few weeks, months, years we’ve been building up our investment funds and growing our capacity as investors — in this process we’ve learnt new terminology, regulations, and industry best practice to understand what framework we’re working within.

As part of getting to know our investors and our founders, the process entails a lengthy ‘KYC procedure’ (kay-why-cee stands for “Know Your Client” ). It’s got me thinking about how this might correlate to a personal leadership checklist because is it always about your customer? Can it be other things that guide us personally and professionally?

If we’re expected to “Know Your Client”, there might be other important reminders that ought to be included in the checklist before one is able to provide a great service to one’s colleague, customer or stakeholder. …


Why breaking the “paradigm of specialisations” is creating a better generation of designers

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By Laura Novik, Professor in Marketing & Communication at Universidad de San Andrés in Argentina.

Since its origins, Latin American design schools have developed a tradition strongly dependent on European models. Particularly the Ulm School of Design and Bauhaus School in Germany has served as inspirations.

But by the beginning of the new millennium, design transitioned into a new phase. Sparked by the successive crisis in society, it became — along with other disciplines — an instrument of social, cultural, environmental, technological and political learning.

This new context led to the emergence of hybrid design careers, where specialisation wasn’t the key. Both in Latin America and the rest of the world, design has undergone a process of transformation from technological to epistemological perspectives, which have paved the way for repositioning design. Before it was a discipline that spoke from designer to designer, but now the doors have opened to other fields of study. …


Becoming aware of your personal space can spark change

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Image: João Jesus

By Lise Damsager Hansen

In our latest blog post, Jana Rudnik describes how “our political, working and private lives are again starting to be concentrated mainly within our own four walls.” This will very likely be the situation on and off in the coming years with the pandemic forcing us to stay in our home and expand its functionality. It’s shaping our personal lives in various positive and negative ways.

For the lucky few, who can work remotely and pursue tasks from home, our home is also our office. For the unlucky ones who got fired, forced into retirement or in isolation, their home might feel like a prison; a room of frustration, uncertainty and loneliness. …


As the season change descends upon us, how can we prepare ourselves for new challenges?

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By Jana Rudnik

As we’re still doing our best to soak up the sunshine in Copenhagen, the misty bike rides to work in the morning indicate that we’re rapidly approaching fall. In Denmark, for those who are unaware, this largely means darkness.

In any year, staying upbeat at this time of year is a challenge, in 2020 it’ll take some extra work and dedication. We all have our personal ways to navigate in times of crisis of any sort, but collectively sharing the experiences of the past months have made some coping mechanisms stand out. …


Why we all need to regain our childlike curiosity

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Image: Bantersnaps

By Billy Maddocks & Luke Jermy, Founders of Elsewhere

Putting people first has been the mantra of human-centred design since the 1990s, long before many of us at Elsewhere were old enough to understand it. Now we completely subscribe to its values: It’s essential to involve the human perspective in all steps of any problem-solving process.

Before Elsewhere began, we helped bring a human perspective to all types of businesses. Our overwhelming experience was that human-centred design is applied to a business at the product/service level, long after the business model has been defined. This can lead to a retrofitting situation where profit, growth and scale come first, and human-centred-ness is used to persuade people to spend and consume. People don’t need growth and scale, particularly if it isn’t sustainable. …


Why we all need to regain our childlike curiosity

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By Lesley Price

Design can, in fact, be evil. A reality perfectly summed up by renowned curator Paola Antonelli, in reaction to the world’s first 3D-printed gun. “My view of design as something that does good for the masses was uprooted,” she said. “I used to think of design as a benign force, but of course, not all design is for the general good, and we would be naive to believe so.”

The handgun, originally named The Liberator, was assembled from printed plastic components and successfully fired in 2013. …


Why we all need to regain our childlike curiosity

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By Wiktorija Marszalek

Growing up as a child and teenager, I’ve been exposed to a lot of newnesses — before turning 18, I had already lived in two countries, five cities and attended seven schools. Living in constant change and being exposed to new environments shaped me as a person. For many years, I couldn’t name what quality these experiences awakened in me — until I realised that the word I was looking for was curiosity.

“I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious,”​ said Albert Einstein. So, what’s the actual value of curiosity?

Curiosity not only awakens your mind to new ideas, makes you a better problem-solver, and pushes you to overcome your fears but, also makes you a more happy person in general! As Daniel Kahneman says in his book ​‘Thinking Fast and Slow’, curiosity is the biggest gift a person can receive. If you’re curious, your mind is characterised by constant activeness, hunger for knowledge, experiences and new perspectives. You don’t take things for granted, always question the current state of affairs and use your empathy to understand other people’s needs. When encountering a problem, you don’t stop at the surface but, dive into the depth of the matter, experimenting with different possible or even impossible solutions. …

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The Index Project

We celebrate people, from far and wide, who use design to change the world. We call it #designtoimprovelife

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