Employment & Entrepreneurship

New global design challenge will make life better for refugees

The IKEA Foundation is challenging designers and creative thinkers from around the world to come up with new design solutions which will help refugees in urban areas.

The What Design Can Do Refugee Challenge, launched today, calls for innovative solutions to support refugees arriving in urban areas, and to help them integrate.

The IKEA Foundation is teaming up with What Design Can Do, an Amsterdam-based design platform, and the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) to run the challenge. The five winning ideas, to be announced on 1 July, will receive funding up to €10,000 and expert support to develop their ideas into feasible plans and working prototypes.

How design can help

 According to UNHCR, more than 60% of the world’s 19 million refugees live in urban areas, a figure set to rise. The challenges society faces in accommodating and integrating refugees are complex, which is where designers and creative thinkers can help by using their skills to come up with new solutions.

“IKEA Foundation supports refugees and the poorest communities all over the world, but given the size of the problem, much more is needed,” says Jonathan Spampinato, Head of Strategic Planning and Communications at IKEA Foundation. “We are in a unique position to facilitate innovation by bringing together unlikely partners and advancing solutions to pressing societal issues.”

The international jury will include Marcus Engman, Head of Design at IKEA, along with other renowned design professionals

Marcus says: “Design is a great tool to make things better. Let’s put it into use for something more than just doing things. Let’s put it in the hands of the great talents of today and then give them the toughest challenge of them all – solving the needs of the many who have almost nothing. That is what Democratic Design is all about to me – making form, function, quality, sustainability accessible for the many, not just for the few.”

To find out more about the challenge, including how take part, visit whatdesigncando.com/challenge