Can design save us? That was the question that Peter Stanners asked the crowd for this year’s Index award. As finalists out of over 1800 nominees, we were together with around 700 other people in the audience able to see what design and innovation can do for the world. Potential ideas, products, and services can have a significant impact on human lives and the well-being of our planet. Here we present our three favourites.
Over the course of the evening, previous years’ winners of the Index Award spoke about what they had achieved. Impressive facts about what Duolingo, Zipline, and Lifestraw helped to show that ideas that seem crazy and farfetched when they start can contribute not only on a humanitarian level but also on a business level.
Three finalists made a particular impression on us, and we would like to share them with you.
1. Pisces by SafetyNet
A major problem in the fishing industry is bycatch. According to the World Bank, approx. 27 million tons of fish are wasted each year. Not a good number in the light of problems with overfishing and the decrease of fish in the oceans. SafetyNet and their product Pisces is a light device attached to the fishing nets that emits a colour specified by the fishermen to attract the types of fish they are fishing for. At the same time, the color and wavelength can keep not wanted species away from the nets. This can help decrease the bycatch up to 90% and create a more sustainable fishing industry. Another positive aspect to Pisces is the user involvement in the process. By letting the fishermen participate in the design process, it has been able to tackle problems that easily could have occurred if they didn’t have the expertise and knowledge from the fishermen.
2. Thumy by Thomyatrics
Diabetes type 1 affects many people in the world and is often diagnosed in childhood. However, no one has ever considered the kids using the insulin pens and how children with diabetes experience taking their insulin every day. By investigating motor skills and the needs of children, Thumy has been able to develop a pen specifically for them, thus making them able to use the medicine themselves, which helps them get a feeling of empowerment.Thumy has not only created a gentler way of using the insulin pen but has also turned the action of taking it into a playful experience.
3. Koniku Kore by Koniku
Bio-mimicry is something that has been used as inspiration for many designs over time. However, Koniku Kore takes it to the next level by creating a tech device that can be programmed to sniff out different types of danger. An example is that by “sniffing” and detecting parasites, insects and other pests, it can warn the farmers beforehand and avoid usage of pesticides. By looking into what nature already has developed over millions of years, they were able to create something that not only uses aesthetics as inspiration but also function. Koniku has taken a big leap into the overlap between design and biology.
As designers in particular and human beings in general, we think the Index Project and what it stands for is immensely important in the globalised world we live in. In times like these, we have to work together to solve the world’s problems. We have the potential, and the Index Award shows us that many companies and people are working towards that. As Liza Chong, CEO of the Index Project said:
It is embedded in us as human beings to fix the broken.Liza Chong, CEO, The Index Project