At IKEA, we believe that diversity is enrichment and leads to better ideas. That's why we make sure that we have representatives from different continents and from both genders. What we have only been able to achieve to a limited extent in recent years, this year we even have reversed circumstances. In this year's Democratic Design Day, for the first time, we have more women as speakers than men. We would be proud if this would set a precedent and give more talented women the opportunity to present their work and ideas at numerous other conferences.
Adina Rom is the founder and CEO of Policy Analytics, Executive Director of the ETH initiative ETH for Development (ETH4D) and serves as a board member of TamTam- Together against Malaria. She has a PhD in Development Economics from ETH Zurich and a Master of Public Administration in International Development from the Harvard Kennedy School.
She was previously responsible for the implementation of numerous impact measures with Innovations for Poverty Action in Kenya as well as the Center for Effective Global Action (CEGA) at the University of California, Berkeley. She has been a consultant for various NGOs and social enterprises as well as the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the International Committee of the Red Cross. In addition, she has held training courses on assessments and impact measurement for the World Bank, the Poverty Action Lab at MIT and ETH Zurich.
Grace Jun focuses on diversity and inclusion. She creates educational programs, investigates applied technology for wearable integration undertakes research and is able to develop this work at Open Style Lab (OSL).
OSL was founded in 2014 as a public service project, implementing an interdisciplinary collaboration model that engages with local disabled people to co-design stylish yet functional clothing and accessories. Grace increased awareness on how accessible clothing leverages social integration for people with disabilities through events and educational programs. OSL has featured on Fast Company, Forbes, Madison Square Garden at the Knicks Game for the Make It Awards, Vogue and Vice (Broadly), New York Times.
Grace’s own design work can be seen in several early feature phones, smartphones and wearable watches launched through Verizon or T-Mobile by Samsung Electronics. With a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design and MFA from Parsons School of Design, Grace’s latest design was an adaptive jacket with motion tracking sensors to monitor client arm movements for physical therapists. She is currently teaching at Parsons School of Design in New York.
Leroy Mwasaru is a 21-year-old renewable energy social entrepreneur and sustainable design thinking prodigy. He founded Greenpact, a consciously social enterprise that began as a high school project providing alternative renewable energy to local communities and institutions in Kenya. Greenpact obtains bio-gas from both agricultural and human waste and works with communities to redefine renewable energy as a sustainable and necessary part of everyday energy needs.
Today, Leroy is the youngest person listed in Forbes Africa 2018 30 under 30, a One Young World ambassador, Audi Ambassador, a Royal Commonwealth Society fellow, a Collectively ambassador, the youngest Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Fellow, a Resolution Project (Class 10) Fellow and a Harvard Social Innovation Collaborative fellow. His work has been featured by CNN three times, The Huffington Post, Forbes, Fast Company, Grist, UpWorthy, CCTV America and commended by Facebook.
For Leroy, design is an inseparable part of his professional, social and personal life.
Design Researcher Fjord
Managing Director Accenture
Martha Cotton is a Managing Director at Accenture and leads design research for Fjord, Accenture’s digital design agency. She has over 20 years of consulting experience, working as an applied ethnographer across many industries and collaborating with designers, engineers, business analysts, marcomms and brand strategists. Prior to joining Fjord, she was a partner at gravitytank. She also held leadership roles at HLB, Hall & Partners and Sapient. Martha is on the faculty of Northwestern University's MMM program - the Kellogg School of Management's marquee Design Thinking degree, where she developed and now teaches the Design Research curriculum.
Martha has spent her career studying how people engage with products, services and brands, helping her clients work differently and with a human-centred lens. She has conducted in-depth ethnographic research around the globe and across every industry from automotive to zippers. As she helps her clients succeed with their innovation portfolios, much of her work also includes a focus on corporate cultural change and helping organizations learn how to achieve their innovation and sustainability goals.
Co-Founder & CEO OLIO
Tessa is co-founder & CEO of OLIO, an app tackling the problem of food waste by connecting users who have food they don’t want or need, with neighbours living nearby who would like it. The inspiration for OLIO came four years ago when Tessa was moving country and found herself with some food that she couldn’t take with her, but that she didn’t want to throw away.
Since its launch, over one million people have joined OLIO and together shared almost two million portions of food. OLIO also publishes ZeroWasteWeekly.com, a website and newsletter that aggregates all the best zero waste news from around the world. Prior to founding OLIO, Tessa spent 10 years as a digital Managing Director in the media, retail and financial services sectors, and gained her MBA from Stanford. Tessa is passionate about the sharing economy as a solution for a sustainable world.
Akanksha Deo, born in 1991 in New Delhi, started working at IKEA as an in-house Designer in 2017. A fashion designer by qualification and a visual artist, she specialises in textiles and handicraft techniques like block printing or indigo dyeing. The idea of home and its opposite is a question she addresses across genres and continents. In her designs, she strives towards striking a balance between handicraft and mass production. She is located in Delhi, being the only IKEA designer based in India.
In her most recent project, Akanksha teamed up with Levi’s to customize a pair of denims. She has also collaborated with several fashion brands like 11.11 by CellDSGN and Lovebirds, and has exhibited her art as part of a group show in Norway, titled AOTANOTA. Akanksha has been listed under Vogue India’s “people under 26 you need to know about” back in 2017.