What Design Can Do Teams Up with IKEA Foundation and Autodesk Foundation for Global Climate Action Challenge

On Earth Day, Amsterdam-based design platform What Design Can Do, along with the IKEA Foundation and the Autodesk Foundation, is announcing a new global design competition to help families cope with the effects of climate change. The challenge calls on designers and creative entrepreneurs to submit innovative solutions to combat the impacts of climate change.

The Climate Action Challenge will officially launch on 23 May at WDCD Live in Amsterdam.

Climate change is now inevitable. We are already witnessing its harmful effects, with floods, droughts, dying ecosystems, and civil wars caused by constrained food and water resources. This is why our response must now be two-pronged: firstly, limit the increase in temperature as much as possible, and secondly, adapt to a changing climate. The Climate Action Challenge is focused on the latter: adaptation to climate change.

“The collaboration with IKEA Foundation and Autodesk Foundation is unique”, says WDCD founder Richard van der Laken. “We don’t just reach out to the global creative community to come up with solutions, together we also have real developing power.” 

Per Heggenes, IKEA Foundation CEO, says: “We believe climate change represents a very significant threat to the future of children living in poor communities —and that innovative design can help their families cope and adapt. We see that the creative community is eager to make their contributions to efforts to tackle climate change. Stories of communities affected by droughts, typhoons, or rising sea levels are implicitly asking creatives: which side are you on? This initiative will help creatives side with the many people, and this is why we’re supporting the What Design Can Do Climate Action Challenge.”

“Climate change is one of the greatest design challenges of our time, and addressing it is essential to the long-term success of society,” said Lynelle Cameron, president & CEO, Autodesk Foundation and vice president of Sustainability, Autodesk. “At Autodesk, we support entrepreneurs, start-ups, and non-profits to create climate change solutions through funding, software, and services. We’re proud to be supporting the What Design Can Do Climate Action Challenge as a way to help more climate innovations get to market and succeed.”

The Climate Action Challenge

The Climate Action Challenge is an initiative by Amsterdam-based design platform What Design Can Do. There are different tracks and awards for students, creative professionals, and start-ups. The winning entrants, selected by an international jury, will be supported with funds and invited to join an acceleration programme to make their ideas happen. It builds on the success of last year’s Refugee Challenge, which attracted in 630 entries from 70 countries. The five winning ideas are currently in development.

Key Milestones
Launch Climate Action Challenge: 23 May 2017 – International Call for Participation: May – July
Selection & presentation winners: 22 – 27 October (Dutch Design Week)
Acceleration & Implementation: November 2017 – April 2018


WDCD Live Amsterdam takes place this year on 23-24 May at the Muziekgebouw aan ’t IJ in Amsterdam. Highlighting the social impact of design, the annual conference this year is entirely devoted to the most pressing problem of our age: climate change. Prominent speakers and experts from all design disciplines will join the audience in exploring the role that design can play.

What Design Can Do

What Design Can Do (WDCD) is a platform for the advancement of design as a tool for social change. Since its inception in 2011, WDCD has undertaken numerous activities to promote the role of designers in addressing the world’s most pressing societal and environmental issues. It has done so by showcasing best practices, raising discussions, and facilitating collaboration between disciplines. For more information visit www.whatdesigncando.com or www.facebook.com/whatdesigncando

IKEA Foundation

The IKEA Foundation (Stichting IKEA Foundation) is the philanthropic arm of INGKA Foundation, the owner of the IKEA Group of companies. We aim to improve opportunities for children and youth in some of the world’s poorest communities by funding holistic, long-term programmes that can create substantial, lasting change. The IKEA Foundation works with strong strategic partners applying innovative approaches to achieve large-scale results in four fundamental areas of a child’s life: a place to call home; a healthy start in life; a quality education; and a sustainable family income, while helping these communities fight and cope with climate change. For more information visit www.ikeafoundation.org or  www.facebook.com/IKEAfoundation.

Autodesk Foundation

Autodesk Foundation is a private 501c3 nonprofit organization of Autodesk, Inc. that supports the design and creation of innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing social and environmental challenges. Autodesk Foundation support can include grant funding, software, technical training, and industry expertise to grantees in architecture, engineering, product design and manufacturing, visual affects, gaming, and related fields.  For more information visit www.autodesk.org or @autodeskimpact

Autodesk Foundation and the Autodesk Foundation logo are registered trademarks or trademarks of Autodesk, Inc., and/or its subsidiaries and/or affiliates in the USA and/or other countries

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