Employment & Entrepreneurship

New design competition will help families cope with climate change

Today, on Earth Day, the IKEA Foundation is announcing its support for a new global design competition—the Climate Action Challenge. We’re teaming up with Amsterdam-based design platform What Design Can Do and the Autodesk Foundation to run the challenge, which calls on designers and creative thinkers to find inspirational and practical ways to fight climate change and help people cope with its effects.

Aimed at students, professional designers and start-up businesses, the Climate Action Challenge will kick off on 23 May at What Design Can Do Live in Amsterdam. It will look for design solutions to help children and families living in communities vulnerable to a changing climate—focusing on their food, water, housing, health and energy needs.

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.

“The collaboration with partners IKEA Foundation and Autodesk Foundation is unique”, says What Design Can Do founder Richard van der Laken. “Finding opportunities and creative tangible solutions within given limitations is what designers excel in. But 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.”

The Climate Action Challenge builds on the success of last year’s Refugee Challenge, which attracted 630 entries from 70 countries. Five winning ideas were chosen, which are currently in development.