Solving the world’s problems one design at a time

September 6th, 2013

This article is more than 11 years old.

Awards recognise the visionaries bidding to make a difference to the way we lead our live

There are no problems, only solutions,” according to the late activist and musician John Lennon, and the winners of the global biannual INDEX: Award are proving just that with innovative solutions designed to improve our lives.


Last week, the Danish non-profit design organisation INDEX: Design to Improve Life unveiled the five winners of its prestigious design competition that attracted over 1,000 nominations from over 70 countries. 


The INDEX: Award isn’t your average design competition that simply awards aesthetic. It aims to change the way the world views design and demonstrate that it plays a crucial role in solving the world’s most pressing challenges such as  climate change, heath, overpopulation, poverty, food waste and education. 


The awards boast the biggest design prize in the world: the five winners share a total of 500,000 euros to help implement their ideas. This year, the winners were narrowed down from 59 finalists.


Copenhagen was awarded for its robust climate adaption plan, which includes sustainable design solutions to water-proof the city and prevent damages like the ones sustained during the devastating cloud burst in July 2011.


While the world’s farmers harvest enough food to feed the planet, it is estimated that up to 50 percent of the global food supply is wasted. An impressive and simple design, FreshPaper, was awarded and holds the potential to change how the world keeps its food fresh and prevent waste with its low-cost, compostable, organic and chemical-free innovation that keeps produce fresh for two to four times longer. 


Raspberry Pi, a tiny computer the price of a textbook, was also awarded and will enable future generations to be equipped with special skills for dealing with the computer age. 


A pressing global issue is that of child and maternal mortality. The Natalie Collection was awarded for its highly effective and low cost solution that will reduce mortality through an education programme and backpack birth kit.


The winner of the people’s choice was visionary Dutch designer Daan Roosegaard who acknowledges that for a long time we have had super intelligent cars, but really dumb roads. The self-confessed “hippie-with-a-business-plan” has created a solution called Smart Highway, an interactive and sustainable road including ‘Glow-in-the-Dark Road’, ‘Dynamic Paint’, ‘Interactive Light’, ‘Induction Priority Lane’ and ‘Wind Light’.



The works of all 59 finalists are on display at a pop-up exhibition in Helsingor this Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Culture Yard, Allegade 2. Free to enter, the exhibition is open 10:00-21:00 on Friday, and 10:00-16:00 over the weekend. Find out more at www.designtoimprovelife.dk.  



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