New challenge calls on designers to combat climate change

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Amsterdam-based design platform What Design Can Do, along with the IKEA Foundation and the Autodesk Foundation, have announced a new global design competition calling on designers and creative entrepreneurs to submit innovative solutions to combat the impacts of climate change.

Climate change is inevitable and we’re all feeling the effects. It’s not just a melting iceberg in the Antarctic, which some may feel is out of sight so out of mind. We can, of course, try to limit the damage we are doing but really, in some ways, it’s too late for that and so instead we have to adapt to climate change.

The Climate Action Challenge hopes to be the spark for designers to come up with innovative ideas to do just that.
“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 challenge specifically focusses on the poorest and most vulnerable people, particularly in the Global South, who will suffer the brunt of climate change. As 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 WDCD Climate Action Challenge will have different tracks and awards for students, creative professionals, and start-ups. The deadline for submission is 21 August and the winning entrants, selected by an international jury, will be supported with funds and invited to join an acceleration programme (from November 2017 to April 2018) to make their ideas a reality.