In many countries around the world, the value of design as a tool for change is becoming more and more apparent.
Outside of the design community, we are experiencing a growing understanding of the fact that design as a method and mindset is critical to solving some of the world’s most urgent challenges, first and foremost the challenge of the climate crisis and the need for a green transition. With its strong tenets from design, the recently launched European Bauhaus initiative from the European Commission is a clear example of this.
That design and designers have the capabilities needed to solve complex challenges is well-established. These capabilities include exploring and experimenting with new possibilities, applying a holistic perspective, and co-creating new solutions across disciplines and sectors, together with the users. Developing early-stage prototypes with a deep material understanding, combined with a sustainable and ethical mindset. When we can unleash the sum of these problem-solving capabilities, we can truly usher a new golden age for Danish design.
As a design community, it is our responsibility to fulfill this potential. We must dare to put ourselves in front. We must lead by example and highlight the value that our contribution to innovation and new thinking creates for people, businesses, society, and the planet.
So, when we come across stones in our path – seeing design equated solely with style and aesthetics, working with a minimal budget for design research, seeing people with a non-design background doing the work of designers, and management consultants disrupting design agencies – it is and will continue to be our job to remove these stones.
In my daily work at the Danish Design Center and in my role as Vice President of the Board of the European design organization BEDA, my top priority is mobilizing our collective forces to unleash the potential of design. Together, we can create the new Golden Age for Danish design.
Christina Melander is Program Director at the Danish Design Center, Vice President of the Board of the European design organization BEDA, and the Head of the Danish Design Award.
Christina has led the development of models such as the Design Ladder and the DIN model, a guide to design-driven innovation. She has also conducted several studies on design value creation and mappings of the Danish design DNA and the Nordic design resource.