Our theme 2020: New Value

We here at Design Forum Finland have, for some years now, chosen a theme which covers our events of each year. We have thus been able to bring new viewpoints and changing attitudes to design discussion and probably even extend the concept of design a little. In 2020 our theme is New Value.

The New Value concept originates in part in the discussion born last summer in the USA, about the challenges of our economic system, based on profit and growth, and about the preconditions of companies. In August 2019, 181 corporate CEOs of the US Business Roundtable signed the Statement on the Purpose of a Corporation which comments these fundamental issues. The Editor-in-Chief of Financial Times Lionel Barber carried on the topic and published a text where he claims capitalism needs resetting

The starting point is a new, socially aware and demanding consumer or customer who expects visible and genuine actions based on values, responsibility and problem solving from a company. If the company doesn’t respond to this trend, it will lose its competitiveness and credibility. A company must produce a new kind of value.

The new value is not just economic profit. It is added value not only to customers but also to employees, partners and the environment. The employees are seen as valuable assets worth investing in skills and welfare. At the same time, equality and diversity are implemented. Partnerships and supply chains are fair and ethical. Communities are supported; the environment and sustainable operations are taken care of. All this brings long-term value also for shareholders, though at first it may not look like that. “Profit with a purpose” is the updated business goal.

Here design has its opportunity! Companies are able to meet at least some of the challenges set by the New Value with design competence. When talking about sustainability, as an example, design is a useful tool of the circular economy. One can also solve larger questions with design, e.g. in engaging interest groups to develop communities.

New Value is also about inspiration. With the events, Design Forum Finland aims at showcasing trends and best practices for inspiration and new kinds of value creation. We show, by company cases, how New Value is successfully generated; we tell how today’s great challenges can be met from the design viewpoint. Open-minded approaches bring new ideas to enhance business. Our standpoint is design.

Photo: Mikko Ryhänen