OUR 10 LESSONS LEARNED

This year we celebrate 15 years of Design to Improve Life. Keeping with our philosophy of always sharing our knowledge, we asked our entire team to tell us what key lessons they’ve learned along the journey…
  1. 1. ASK, TALK, LISTEN & LEARN – “Admitting to not knowing something distinguishes a smart individual. Ask questions, talk about your ideas, listen to what others have to say and learn from their experiences. The further you move out of your comfort zone, the better.”
  2. 2. WALK TOGETHER – “As the African proverb says: ‘If you want to walk fast, walk alone, if you want to walk far, walk together’. Global challenges can’t be solved by one actor alone. We are all part of an ecosystem and can only be successful when we work within strong partnerships and acknowledge the achievements of others.”
  3. 3. BE PATIENT – “Everything takes time. If your project hasn’t taken off yet, if you’re waiting for an investment to pay off, or if you simply think that a good cause isn’t moving fast enough – stick to your guns, it will pay off.”
  4. 4. INVEST IN HUMAN CAPITAL  – “Monetary investments are key to getting early-stage entrepreneurs and businesses on their feet. But high visibility, a great team, strong partnerships, active networks and a good business model will keep them standing.”
  5. 5. AIM FOR THE TIP OF THE WAVE – “Beware of becoming complacent. If you achieve your ultimate goal – go out and set another one. Your vision should always be expanding and evolving.”
  6. 6. PRACTICE SUSTAINABLE DESIGN IN FULL CYCLE – “Sustainable design isn’t just about using eco-friendly materials. Look for the triple-bottom-line – economic, environmental and social output– in all of your work. Take the full lifecycle of a product or service into account, and make sure it’s sustainable from the production right through to waste management.”
  7. 7. CHALLENGE THE STATUS QUO – “The enemy is fear. Gandhi said it, Yoda said it, and now we’re saying it. Working innovatively means to often challenge the status quo. Without risking failure, none of the great innovations of today would’ve been born.”
  8. 8. BELIEVE IN THE NEXT GENERATIONS – “Working for sustainability by definition means to make the world better for the next generations. But it should start by making it with the next generations. Children have an amazing capacity to learn, be creative, and they’re more than ready to take on big challenges if given the chance. We must offer that opportunity now.”
  9. 9. SEEK OUT THE GOOD NEWS – “There are many global challenges facing the world at the moment. Listening, watching, and reading mainstream news can often be disheartening, but it’s never the whole picture. There are countless inspirational causes, people and stories out there – seek them out!”
  10. 10. MEASURE YOUR WORK, DON’T WORK TO MEASURE – “It’s without question that you must document your work to prove that you’re more than just hot air. But, the more you grow, the more you may be forced into restrictive and sometimes elusive measuring systems. Try to fulfil them without losing sight of your own goals.”
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