Winning concepts of the Climate Action Challenge


What Design Can Do announce the winners of their international Climate Action Challenge


The thirteen winners of the international Climate Action Challenge were announced last week at the What Design Can Do conference in São Paulo, Brazil. Chosen from 384 entries, the winning concepts will continue to be developed in the New Year, during a rigorous acceleration programme in collaboration with Social Enterprise NL.


Winner: Artificial Glaciers, put forwards by Suryanarayanan Balasubramanian in India. A project that cleverly adapts water’s frozen shape. The concept is to create ‘ice stupas’ which store glacial melt water in a pyramid shape, meaning that the ice melts more slowly and offers a water source during the driest time of year.

Patricia Espinosa was the Climate Action Challenge head judge, and is executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Discussing the Challenge, she mentioned that “in the process of curbing climate change, we need to engage with other sectors. The challenge of What Design Can Do can help us to reach other audiences.”

Chosen by an international panel of judges, the winning projects will have their own personal mentors during the workshops. After the programme, which encompasses three multiple-day boot camps and two online workshops, the winners will present the end result – prototypes and business plans included - at the international What Design Can Do conference in May 2018.


Winner: Twenty, put forward by Mirjam de Bruijn in the Netherlands. This idea focuses on reducing waste by selling household goods in a concentrated, dry form. This, the team suggests, will not only save on emissions and energy costs but also raise awareness as to how we consume and interact with every day products.

Founder of What Design Can Do, Richard van der Laken, said “The Climate Action Challenge seeks design ideas that have the potential to combat the impact of global warming. The winners are innovative, practical, scaleable, affordable, and easily communicated.”

The thirteen winners will share a budget of € 900,000 in order to bring their projects to life, with the aim of helping individuals and communities fight climate change. 


Winner: Backpack Radio Station, put forward by Iman Aburrahman of Studio Joris De Groot in Indonesia. As simple as the name suggests, this concept is for a portable radio station that can help remote communities become more resilient towards natural disasters. It features a mini database, and could certainly be a lifesaver.





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