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Design to Improve Life

Posted by on October 3, 2010 at 9:07 pm

The online nomination period for the world’s largest monetary design award by INDEX: opened September 7 and closes on December 17, 2010.

INDEX: (yes, spelled with a colon) is a Danish-based non-profit organization started in 2002, whose motto is “Design to Improve Life.” INDEX: describes its mission as working “globally to promote and apply both design and design processes that have the capacity to improve the lives of people worldwide.”

INDEX: is best known for its lucrative biennial award for top designs in five life-changing categories: body, home, work, play and community. Its awards total 500,000 euros, split among the five categories, making it the largest monetary prize for design in the world.

According to its website, INDEX: was originally conceived by designer Johan Adam Lindeballe and Danish Permanent Secretary Jørgen Rosted as a “world event.” INDEX: promotes its “Design to Improve Life” objective via the biennial design award, a world-touring exhibition, a summer camp, conferences, and publications.

In 2009, INDEX: received over 700 nominations from 54 countries. The winners included the Freeplay fetal heart rate monitor that can be used in remote areas of the world, where electricity is scarce, and a person-to-person micro-financing company called Kiva. Past winners have included the One Laptop Per Child Foundation (2007) and Tesla Motors for its the all-electric Roadster sports car (2007).

Anyone can nominate his or her favorite life-improving design for the 2011 INDEX: award, which will be determined by an “international jury of designers, design scholars and thinkers, business people, and curators.”

So what has improved your life or the lives of others this past year? Visit the INDEX: website to enter your nomination.

Global recognition is a powerful lure to encourage designers and inventors to reach new heights. The sweet smell of 500,000 euros doesn’t hurt either.