World Design Embassies

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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. The WDE themes are closely related to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. 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.

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.