Three Swedish Design Leaders on the Latest Trends: “Before you designed ‘for someone’ now ‘with someone'”

Cecilia Hertz, Founder and CEO Umbilical Design and Co-Founder I.S.A.A.C. (International Space Asset Acceleration Company), Anna Valtonen, Vice Chancellor, Konstfack and Marcus von Euler, Designer Strategist & Co Founder, Nine Point Circle.

In a cooperation between Techarenan and Teknikföretagen, Stora Designpriset is reborn as the Grand Award of Design which highlights the best of what Sweden has to offer within design as a key to competitiveness and profitability.

Historically and generally, Swedish design is characterized by functionality, transparency, and sustainability, and have a strong reputation in the space where design meets technology.

But which are the current trends in this field and what direction are they pointing in?

We asked three well-known and experienced design leaders in Sweden.

Anna Valtonen, Vice Chancellor, Konstfack

“Design is increasingly used for the immaterial; the digital, services and processes, at the same time the material becomes more significant in our world of algorithms and automation.

Design is increasingly used to create change. It could be on an organizational level – the pandemic, the economical state and the situation for security policy have made most organizations realize that they must transform – to a larger global transformation e.g. in sustainability related questions, in which it’s a matter of helping the society as a whole to transform, for example through changed behavioral patterns; “behavioral design”.

A higher degree of inclusion. Before you designed ‘for someone’, now ‘with someone’. That does not only apply to different people, but also in a wider ecosystem perspective.”

Marcus von Euler, Entrepreneur and Designer Strategist

“A lot is happening very fast right now within digitalization and AI, and here in the Nordics and Europe we are struggling to compete with the tech companies dominating the world, from the US to China. There are great possibilities here to challenge with good products from design and tech driven companies.

Sustainability and circularity in combination with sensor data is, according to me, the most important trend right now, and something that hasn’t fully bloomed yet. But the speed of change is high and I’m crazy excited!

Spice this up with the challenge of creating new user experiences with AI in all areas of our lives. It will be a design challenge that Sweden’s designers are well equipped to address and execute. Exciting times ahead is my analysis.”

Cecilia Hertz, Entrepreneur and Space Designer

“When we address design trends on my horizon, I have to bring to mind that we also concern the whole universe. I usually highlight it as the space perspective, with my own concept; ‘Weightless Thinking’, that concerns adding the weightlessness factor in the design process to create completely new innovations.

My goal is, in addition to contribute with technology from the space sector, also transfer knowledge from the space sector in handling extremely complex challenges to solve the challenges we have on our own planet. When people started to talk about Circular Economy here on Earth, I felt that it was something we had worked with for ages in the space sector.

Take for example the water issue: astronauts on the International Space Station use 26 liters of water per person and day. In Sweden, we use 160 liters of water per person and day. This resulted in the development of my concept ‘Astronaut Lifestyle’, since the astronauts use the precisely needed amount of water, food, energy, volume.

In my book* I address what I experienced already as a student, as success factors in NASAs innovation work. Something I call ‘the big five’:

  1. Passion
  2. Mindset
  3. Team
  4. Behavioral Change
  5. Technology

I have purposely put Technology as number 5, since I want to convey that we already have all the technology we could ever imagine by adding the space sectors infinite assets.”

*(Rymden – och allt den har att lära oss)

Info: The Grand Award of Design

The Grand Award of Design will be awarded in two categories: Gold and Pioneer.

Anyone is allowed to apply or nominate an entry. An expert jury will then evaluate the entries and select three finalists in each category.

Last day to apply is September 10. The winners will then be announced at a gala in October 2023.


Nominate a company:

Johannes Lundberg

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