The designer’s way to design a sustainable future
Finnish design agency Vincit has created a methodology for designing products and services that don’t harm the planet. The company is now using its partnership with We Don’t Have Time to reach out to a broader audience, and has already found a potential client in Kenya.
The design and software company Vincit was founded in Tampere, Finland, in 2007. Today, the company has got more than 450 employees in Finland, USA and Switzerland, and last year it reached a turnover of 48 million euros.
Vincit has been awarded “Best workplace in Finland” three years in a row. In 2016 it was labeled “Best workplace in Europe”, and this year its US branch was ranked “Best workplace for innovators” in the USA.
Having made sure it takes good care of its employees, Vincit decided to also take care of the world. A new vision was created: For a world without fear of tomorrow. And this new vision eventually gave birth to Planet Centric Design, a methodology to help create sustainable business opportunities, based on a mindset of responsibility, transparency and systemic thinking.
Andy Matias, originally from New York, is a sustainability strategist and Planet Centric Designer at Vincit in Helsinki. He says most design and designers have been — and still are — too narrow-focused.
”We’ve been designing products and business by using a model that doesn’t account for environmental impact. Each such business can be monumentally successful, but collectively they could be really bad for people and planet. We’re now using a wider lens to come up with a new business model and new services, trying to embed responsibility into our products and services.”
Vincit is a partner of We Don't Have Time, and in April this year the company hosted an online panel discussion during Earth Day Week on how to combat climate change with strategic actions. A few months later Vincit decided to use its Climate Dialogue™ page on the We Don’t Have Time platform to reach out to potential partners in a new way.
”Me and a colleague had been thinking about how we could work more with startups and help them scale up. There might not be much money there, but that is where the energy is. So we thought: Let’s just test the idea on the We Don’t Have Time platform”, says Andy Matias.
On its Climate Dialogue page, Vincit posted: ”Climate entrepreneurs all around the world, we want to help you!”, and offered a 30-minute coaching session to start-ups. One who responded was Patrick Kiarie Nyokabi from Kenya. He had recently been awarded “best climate idea” by the We Don’t have Time Foundation, for creating an idea called “Borrowing from the future” on the We Dont Have Time app.
In an earlier interview with We Don’t Have Time, Patrick Kiarie Nyokabi said:
”Borrowing from the Future will seek to do a number of things. One is to provide a platform for young people in Kenya to access and interact with information on climate change and environmental conservation. This could be scalable to Africa and the world. Another is to use the platform to allow young people to exchange ideas and start participating in building climate-conscious economic and political systems.”
Andy Matias at Vincit found the idea interesting.
”I think it could work”, he says. ”We need these sort of projects, which are embedded in the local communities.”
After the online coaching session, Vincit looked at the pitch from different angles and offered Patrick some very concrete suggestions on how to develop the idea further.
What happens next remains to be seen, but Andy Matias and his colleagues are already laying out plans for how to approach startups more systematically on the platform.
”Through We Don’t Have Tome we hope to reach a broader and more global audience. We also look forward to talking to other partners in the network”, he says.