World Design Embassies is a programme organised by Dutch Design Foundation and partners about societal challenges and the role that design plays in developing new perspectives and offering tangible, workable solutions.

Technologicalisation, climate change, urbanisation, new forms of globalisation, individualisation… Just a handful of the many issues confronting our society. Some perceive them as a threat while others seize them as an opportunity to try new things. We believe in the opportunities and, in collaboration with experts, practitioners, designers, users and change agents, take on the challenge of tackling the issues differently. The solutions that were chosen in the past aren’t always the best choices for the future. The world is in transition and we need people with vision and a pragmatic approach; that’s why we team up with partners and designers to catalyse new ways of thinking and improvements in today’s design practice.

Embassies for the future

There has never been a more urgent or universal need for designers, design thinking and design skills. Not only to shape new applications in products and services, but to provide the chains and systems with form and meaning, too. And perhaps to redesign our collaborative strategies in a way that brings us closer to results. But above all, designers place the individual—the end user—centre stage. We believe we can co-create that future: with users and consumers, with citizens and residents, with businesses and entrepreneurs, with governments and policymakers, with experts and researchers. And, naturally, in synergy with creative thinkers, doers and practitioners.

Often, this involves new collaborations between partners and sectors that rarely interact. We do this in the embassies for the future. Not embassies that represent national interests, but embassies that unify complex social issues in a single theme.

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WDE Pocket
Photo by Oscar Vinck
Embassy of Sustainable Design 2019, photo by Britt Roelse

The future needs us to explore different visions and come up with specific answers. By doing this together, we unite expertise that none of us could organise individually. Our working method is both pragmatic and concrete, innovative and speculative. Or, as one of our partners said: we bring futuring field labs and speculative space together. And the embassy seems to offer a fertile, safe environment to try out a new approach, and inspire others to adopt or refine it.

Dutch Design Week

World Design Embassies is a year-round programme that we co-develop with partners and stakeholders. The programme culminates during Dutch Design Week (19 October – 27 October 2019). This is when the embassies take physical form, present their vision and share learnings and insights. These outcomes are presented in two formats: a series of exhibitions, and a programme of lectures, discussions, debates and workshops.

Partners

World Design Embassies is a programme and platform that would not exist without its partners. Together, the partners make up the embassy: they present the topics and issues to be addressed, offer knowledge and expertise, show their own or joint practical examples and co-develop the programme. Embassies also connect networks and link designers to the issues. The result is the creation or design of new, appealing and—most importantly—innovative solutions, or the embassy is the impulse for long-term collaborative research. During Dutch Design Week the programme connects future makers, designers and thinkers from all over the globe so they can shape the future together.

Dutch Design Foundation

Dutch Design Foundation (DDF) is optimistic and believes that the problem-solving capacity of designers can improve the world. That’s why DDF offers designers opportunities, support, publicity and a platform. But how do we do that?

We do this in a variety of ways. By means of large and small events, exhibitions, talks, prizes and debates, DDF provides a platform for the best and most promising designers. In this way, we help them to spread their ideas and work. The foundation organises events and projects such as WDE and DDW. The foundation facilitates the platform and is also a partner in the embassies. WDE is made possible by a contribution by Regio Deal Brainport Eindhoven.

Partners

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