INDEX

                                                              

INDEX

International Federation for Housing and Planning (IFHP)
Solution proposed by: 
International Federation for Housing and Planning [IFHP] Ms. Regitze Marianne Hess Special Advisor
In a Nutshell: 
INDEX: Design to Improve Life® is a Danish NPO with global reach. INDEX Inspires, Educates and Engages in designing sustainable solutions to global challenges. Sparking inspiration through the delivery of annual INDEX Award – the world’s biggest design prize
Where and When: 
a Danish NPO with global reach, established in 2002, and handing out INDEX Award on an annual basis since 2005
Challenges: 
Sustainability - a vehicle for the advancement and promotion of sustainable solutions
Innovation: 
The shifting of focus and understanding of design as rendering objects for everyday life to a focus on the power of design to improve life, particularly through sustainable solutions to global challenges, as such solutions contributing to urban sustainability.
Concept: 
Design to Improve Life through high profile INDEX Award
Description: 
INDEX: Design to Improve Life® is a Danish NPO with global reach. INDEX Inspires, Educates and Engages in designing sustainable solutions to global challenges. INDEX: Award was conceived in 2002 as a world event for design and was awarded for the first time in 2005. The name INDEX was an abbreviation ofINternationalDEsign eXhibition and when the organization was founded, the goal was to brand Denmark by the use of a large-scale, traditional design award – hoping to attract attention, tourists and investments to Denmark. However, the organization – headed by CEO Kigge Hvid – was not fully convinced that a traditional design approach was going to yield a big enough impact, and therefore INDEX worked hard to figure out what a world event for design should then focus on in order to be globally relevant… So, INDEX, talked, and listened to designers, the media, CEOs, heads of design and innovation, academics, and to artists from all over the world. And everyone – no matter who or where – pointed to the human potential of design and the value of design perception. Not only in traditional products, but also in the design of services, processes, and systems. And via these conversations, INDEX established the concept of Design to Improve Life, not only because it was (and still is!) globally relevant but also because in a beautiful way, it could perpetuate the humane and democratic tradition of Danish design. No design events were built around this focus in 2002, and most designers back then did not focus on designing to improve life. They simply did not see the commercial potential in designing social and sustainable solutions to global challenges. But significant events such as Muhammad Yunus receiving a Nobel Peace Prize, and the publication of The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid by C. K. Prahalad gave way to a new focus of finding innovative solutions for both developed and developing countries. The INDEX: Design to Improve Life® organization, however, was not alone in the quest for encouraging designers to stop designing white tea cups and instead focusing their creative skills on more pressing issues: INDEX just sat on the tip of the wave looking ahead. And now, all design events, design conferences and design agencies around the world recognize the power of Design to Improve Life and allocate at least part of their program, work, or resources to advance this important agenda. The private sector has also followed suit, realizing the sizable commercial potential in designs that have the capacity to improve people’s lives. International foundations have also adopted innovative approaches to philanthropy, most notably the Rockefeller Foundation with a focus on “Innovation for Development”. Today, INDEX: Design to Improve Life® has become a key player in the global design community in the field of social and sustainable design by continually promoting Design to Improve Life by working collaboratively with people from all over the world to find tangible solutions to pressing global challenges. In early 2016, INDEX added an investment leg to our Design to Improve Life agenda. Specifically, designers from all over the world now have the possibility to receive seed and venture capital for their life-improving design solutions – provided that they have been nominated for INDEX: Award via the award’s free, open source platform. The winners of INDEX: Award have since 2005 been announced at high profile events in Denmark, with extensive media coverage, ranging from Copenhagen City Hall and the capital’s Concert Hall to an abandoned shipyard in Elsinore and the Copenhagen Opera. The most recent award ceremony held in Elsinore on August 27th 2015 featured 1,300 guests from 35 countries – including HRH the Crown Princess of Denmark. All guests witnessed the award ceremony come to life as a 60-minute live TV broadcast of nothing but ‘good news’ about Design to Improve Life. INDEX: Award Exhibition is a unique world touring exhibition displaying the winners and finalists of INDEX: Award and has been seen by more than 14 million people around the world. The exhibition is always displayed in public spaces with free access for all. It offers a profound insight into how design can improve important areas of people’s lives, while allowing designers and manufacturers to gain knowledge about how to create designs that are not only beautiful, but also sustainable in every aspect of production. ------- When the Danish Design Centre awarded the 16 prizes for the Danish Design Award in 2016, half of the winners were previously nominated for INDEX: Award. And, more importantly, all the winning designs focus on improving peoples lives – not a new, fancy pepper grinder in sight! One of the goals at INDEX: Design to Improve Life® has always been to reform the perception of design. Design shouldn’t just be about the aesthetics, but it should also be life-enhancing. And, judging from the selection of the Danish Design Award 2016 winners, INDEX appears to have succeeded. Among the winners were an app to assist the blind, a latrine for disaster areas and a reinterpreted colostomy bag – among many others. INDEX’s aim is to identify and elevate design and designers that address real world problems. And to establish a new genre of design, while making a positive impact in the world. Today, ‘Design to Improve Life’ is fast climbing its way up the industry’s agenda. It’s now seen as a key focal point for many powerful design bureaus and world-renowned design events. The private sector has also followed suit by realising the considerable commercial potential of life-improving design. Some key local examples include:  The Confederation of Danish Industry (“the strong voice of corporate Denmark”) have featured INDEX winners on the front page of their publications  The Velux Foundations have invested in Chora Connection  Denmark recently held the world’s biggest summit for sustainable fashion design, run by our Design Society partners the Danish Fashion Institute  The Carlsberg Foundation now invests for ‘impact’, using triple bottom line with a focus on social returns  The Danish Government launched a new innovation strategy clearly driven by our work  And the finalists and nominees for the INDEX: Award 2015 are receiving significant attention from investors
Impacts: 
Outreach to more than 14 million people worldwide Some key local examples include:  The Confederation of Danish Industry (“the strong voice of corporate Denmark”) have featured INDEX winners on the front page of their publications  The Velux Foundations have invested in Chora Connection  Denmark recently held the world’s biggest summit for sustainable fashion design, run by our Design Society partners the Danish Fashion Institute  The Carlsberg Foundation now invests for ‘impact’, using triple bottom line with a focus on social returns  The Danish Government launched a new innovation strategy clearly driven by our work  And the finalists and nominees for the INDEX: Award 2015 are receiving significant attention from investors