What we do

Here at The Index Project, we're all about design and innovation for a better future, what we call Design to Improve Life.

Design to improve life is about solving real-world problems; simple and complex, systemic and emerging — a mission that’s essential to achieving the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, and building a sustainable and equitable future.

We achieve this mission through three strategic pillars: award, teach and invest.

We award the best cases of design to improve life through our international biennale, The Index Award — often referred to as the ‘Nobel Prize of Design’. By platforming the world’s most impactful and iconic designs, we celebrate diversity, inspire hope and act as a catalyst for groundbreaking innovation.

We teach design to improve life to empower companies and institutions with the knowledge and tools for sustainable innovation. Our education methodology has engaged more than 5,000 educators and 10,000 students, globally. We continue to grow this impact within communities through our partnerships with businesses, academia and nonprofit sectors.

We invest in ground-breaking designs to help them scale and deliver genuine and lasting impact. To date, the Design to Improve Life Funds (I & II) have directly invested in 18 purpose-driven companies from all over the world. With each award cycle, a new fund is established to ensure more companies, showcased through The Index Award, reach their full potential.

Why design?

Design helps us, as humans, understand, engage with and shape the world around us. To date, it has birthed some of our most impactful products, services, symbols and movements, from prosthetics that complete the human body to the pride flag, a celebration of freedom and diversity.

We've seen rockets take us to the moon, virtual telephones enable worldwide connectivity, and drones bring hope rather than destruction. The Tesla Roadster took electric vehicles mainstream, borderless currency Bitcoin burst the banking world wide-open, and the Apple iPhone became a permanent fixture in the palms of more than a billion people.

These advancements have given new meaning to the word 'disruption' — nudging, tripping and even derailing industries to offer alternative and better ways of living.

But design isn't just about aiding technological progress; it's a tool for the people. As creative problem solving combined with a human-centred mindset, design thinking is the go-to practice for innovation and transformation. And time has shown these techniques lead to better solutions, from simplifying complex business processes to designing products for the harshest and most remote locations on Earth. 

Design thinking empowers, giving those who aren't trained as designers the creative tools to actively shape an equitable and sustainable future worth living in. As we know, design is far too important to be left just to the designers.

The Index Project is a call to action. Are you in?

 

Get to know the team and what makes us tick

lc@theindexproject.org

Liza has been leading the organisation since 2018 and is responsible for the organisation’s vision, strategic and operational direction. She joined in 2009 to pen the first official strategy and has led fundraising and global partnership initiatives that have taken The Index Project overseas to the Nordics, Asia, Latin America and the US. Most recently, Liza established the first two micro-VC funds to invest solely into the pipeline of The Index Award.

Originally, from London, Liza has a blended background in strategy, policy, business development and implementation. She previously worked on local economic growth government projects in London and the Greater Sub-Mekong region with the UN in Bangkok. Liza is an active advisor and mentor to individuals and organisations in the early stages of establishing their social businesses. 

She also sits on Ashoka Scandinavia’s Venture Board in Copenhagen and the Distributed Design Market Platform’s Advisory Board, and Orano SA’s Executive Stakeholder Committee. She's also a regular speaker and panellist for public, corporate and educational audiences ranging from the Royal College of Arts, the V&A, Bloomberg, Chr. Hansen, IKEA, and Fritz Hansen to name a few. 

Liza Chong
CEO

cha@theindexproject.org  |  +45 2946 6094

Charlotte is responsible for all initiatives concerning our education programmes for entrepreneurs, startups, educators, company leaders and decision makers. Charlotte has been working within the design industry for more than 15 years, managing design processes and developing design strategies for both companies, project organisations and public agencies. She is passionate about design thinking and has many years of experience with leading people through design and innovation processes.

In addition, Charlotte has a Masters of Visual Culture from the University of Copenhagen and a Diploma in Design-based Facilitation from KADK. 

 

Charlotte Høeg Andersen
Education Director

dr@theindexproject.org  |  +45 2980 0927

Ditte manages and produces physical and digital events for the Index Project Community, as well as supports in communication. She joined The Index Project in 2019 to aid in communicational efforts for Index Award and continues to create original written and visual content. As an experienced tour guide, Ditte enjoys public speaking and engaging with people both online and IRL. 

Ditte has a Master of Arts in Film and Media from the University of Copenhagen and freelances on the side as a film critic and podcaster. She finds great joy in furthering innovative and quality ideas through creative communication and nurturing the Index Community hive.

 

Ditte Fiil Ravn
Community Manager

lp@theindexproject.org  |  +45 6128 1777

As Communication Director, Lesley oversees the strategy, development and production of all our communication. She's also the writer and host of our podcast 'Can design save us?' With a journalism background, Lesley enjoys freelancing in the fields of innovation and tech when time permits. She has also sat on the Good Design Award jury, Australia’s oldest and most prestigious awards programme for design and innovation.

Originally from Australia, Lesley relocated to Denmark in 2012 and holds a Masters in Media Studies from the University of Copenhagen and a Bachelor of Journalism from the Queensland University of Technology (QUT). In line with The Index Project, her mission is to show how design can help establish a good quality of life for all.

 

Lesley Price
Communication Director

ma@theindexproject.org  |  +45 2010 5924

Mariano leads the development of The Index Project's digital platforms and our insights platform, Big Picture. He's also the Head of Special Projects, designing and executing special custom projects and design challenges with partners around the world. He also works extensively with our education programmes, facilitating workshops physically and digitally. He represents our organisation at the Design Declaration Summit and at many conferences and working groups. 

Mariano has an educational background in Systems Analysis, Systems Engineering, History and Design-based education. He has extensive experience as a developer, systems designer and has a deep love for technology and design thinking.

Mariano Alesandro
Head of Future Thinking & Special Projects

mm@theindexproject.org  |  +45 5388 3436

Mia's responsible for connecting the dots between the design thinking and the design doing at The Index Project, and to make sure that our activities and initiatives align with our strategy. She holds a Masters Degree in Design Management from the Design School Kolding and the University of Southern Denmark and a Bachelors Degree in International Business Communication with English and European Studies from Copenhagen Business School.
 
Mia has previously been working within the fintech industry with a focus on impact investing and has been living and working in Germany, France and Poland before returning back home to Denmark.
Mia Marie Tarp
Head of Strategic Design

pb@theindexproject.org  |  +45 9397 9378

Patrikas joined us in 2018 and started by helping with the development of Big Picture - a tool for analysing all the data we can gather from award nominations. Now, he's working on the implementation and upkeep of our new website, as well as helping Mariano with any other technical projects.

Patrikas has come to Copenhagen all the way from Lithuania to get a degree in the field of IT. Apart from technology, he has a passion for a variety of things: fountain pens, board games, music composition, arts & crafts, and smart design also happens to land in there somewhere too. Patrikas is also very meticulous, so if you notice a mistake on the website, please let him know.

 

 

 

Patrikas Balsys
Full Stack Developer

sc@theindexproject.org

Sara joined us to support Sylvain in visual communications for the Index Award 2021. Previously, she's worked in various freelance projects, such as creating graphic designs for Editorial Design and developing a letterpress workshop for Escola Superior de Artes e Design (ESAD) in Porto, Portugal.

Sara came to Copenhagen in 2020 and is now pursuing a Master degree in Design at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts. Having a background in Communication Design, she’s particularly interested in combining theoretical subjects such as art history and design theory into her study and work.

 

Sara Steege
Graphic Designer

sk@theindexproject.org  |  +45 3131 8860

Silas is responsible for the Design to Improve Life Funds and oversees all investment-related activities. He has an academic background in BSc. in Computer Science and MSc. in Applied Economics & Finance, spending a few years consulting before entering his first investment role.

Silas defines himself as a curious generalist with five years of investment experience, previously at a Danish multi-stage venture fund. He's also held active board positions in companies within a variety of industries.

Most of his time off is spent with his family doing cultural activities and in the nature around their house in the Swedish woods.

Silas Kondrup
Investment Manager

tv@theindexproject.org  |  +45 2751 1349

Thomas is responsible for all commercial activities with our strategic sponsors and stakeholders. Previously, he worked with sales and strategy in different industries such as shipping, consumer goods and IT. Thomas has a Masters in International Business and a Bachelor in Economics, both from Aarhus University.

Outside of work, he enjoys spending time exploring the cultural and culinary scene in Copenhagen and is into all kinds of water sports. He also has a side hustle importing vermouth from Spain.

Thomas Vase
Commercial Director
Our patron
Our patron
The Index Project is proudly under the patronage of HRH Crown Princess Mary of Denmark.
Mary Elizabeth, Her Royal Highness Crown Princess, Crown Princess of Denmark, Countess of Monpezat. The Crown Princess is the patron of a great many national organisations, institutions, and foundations and is an honorary member of various associations and societies.

Appointed to the Board - August 2020.

Independent.

Kjersti Lund is European Managing Director and part of the global leadership team at the strategic design company Designit. She’s has been part of leading the company through the acquisition by the Indian tech giant Wipro Limited in 2015, and since then grown Designit from nine to 18 offices around the world. Kjersti is responsible for driving Designit’s strategic direction globally and hold the PnL responsibility for Designit Europe. In addition to this, Kjersti is on the board of numerous organisations, including KIB Executive and Boards and Belong Agency.

With an educational background in Human Resource Management and International Business, Kjersti has always been passionate about empowering and motivating people to step up and unleash their full potential and, through people, ensure that organizations can deliver on their strategic direction. Throughout her career, Kjersti has been working at the intersection of strategy and organisational transformation, and been involved in several mergers and acquisitions.

Skills: Design leadership, global expansion, strategy and organisational transformation.

Positions: Board Member Designit, Nørrebro Bryghus, Dorte Mandrup and Baldersbrønde Bryggeri.

Kjersti Lund
Chair of the Board

Appointed to the Board - January 2021.

Non-independent.

Navid Samandari is a seasoned tech entrepreneur and angel investor. Initially a programmer, he transitioned into strategy and business development and has spent the past two decades building companies, including eight years in management consulting building a boutique consulting firm from scratch up until its acquisition by Bain & Co in early 2020. His focus has been on utilising emerging technologies, innovative business models and strategic design practices to build tech startups as an entrepreneur as well as consultant for some of the leading corporates in Scandinavia, enabling them to expand their core business with new digital ventures.

Today Navid is working as Executive Chairman at Seaborg Technologies where he is also a co-founder, bringing to market a fundamentally new type of nuclear reactor.

Navid is also an avid startup advisor, being a mentor in startups accelerators and The Danish Technical University, as well as investing in deep tech and impact startups at the early seed stage.

Skills: Startups and angel investments as well as strategy, digital innovation and digital transformation, both within startups as well as corporates

Positions: Executive Chairman at Seaborg Technologies. Chairman at Hyme.

Investor in Design to Improve Life FUND I K/S and investor in Seaborg Technologies

Navid Samandari
Vice-Chair of the Board

Appointed to the board – June 2022

Independent

Lisbet is a Senior Advicor and Board Professional. She has over 20 years of top-management experience within Grundfos, BDO Denmark and Rambøll and a proven track record of state-of-the-art leadership in the tech and engineering industry. She currently sits on the Boards of Lely Holding B.V. (Holland), Industriens Fond and NINE A/S, Industriens Fond and Lely Holding B.V. and is a first-mover in pursuing the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals through sustainable business.

Skills: General leadership, board leadership, leading global teams of professionals, strategy, leading innovation, driving business results, managing complex projects, spearheading disruptive transformations, company values and culture and governance.

Positions: Board member at Lely Holding B.V. (Holland), Industriens Fond and NINE A/S, Industriens Fond and Lely Holding B.V.

Lisbet Thyge Frandsen
Board Member

Appointed to the Board - August 2020.

Independent.

Matias is a Partner in the Copenhagen office of Boston Consulting Group, leading complex transformation in a variety of industries, Nordic lead for social impact sector build in BCG, and core member of BCG TURN. He's a global expert on Societal Impact, Sustainability, Food Waste & Loss, Diversity & Inclusion and integration. Member of BCG’s Social Impact global practice, and expert in supply chain operations (efficiency programs, digitizing the core, i4.0), People & Organization, and Strategy across industries.

Matias has coauthored on a number of topics, from transformation to global food loss and waste, to the role of companies in total societal impact, to gender diversity, including a book written with top executives in Denmark. He has experience from work in South America, Africa and Asia, and has participated in exclusive BCG year-long programs: The Ambassador program in 2015 (Chile), and the Social Impact Immersion program in 2012 (in Mozambique, London and Rome working with UN’s WFP and Save the Children International).

Skills: Expert in business transformation

Positions: Managing Director at Accenture, Volunteer Board Member of innoaid.org

Matias Pollmann-Larsen
Board Member
Come say hello!
The Index Project (fond)
Skindergade 6, Floor 1
1159 Copenhagen K
Denmark

Contact us:

CVR (VAT) number: 41627247
Merkur Cooperative Bank
Reg. no: 8401, Acc. no: 1168485
SWIFT: MEKUD21
IBAN: DK0784010001168485

We are 501(c)(3) registered