We're in a world of trouble — design can save us!

The Index Award biennale celebrates people, from far and wide, using design to solve the problems that matter — what we call Design to Improve Life. Since 2005, we’ve recognised some of the world’s most impactful and iconic solutions. From tiny tools that diagnose disease to environmental moonshots saving our most vulnerable ecosystems.

Notable past winners include LifeStraw (2005), the Tesla Roadster (2007), Kiva (2009), Hövding (2011), Raspberry Pi (2013), The Ocean Cleanup Array (2015), Zipline (2017) MARSHA (2019), Algorithmic Justice League (2021) and many more.

The Index Award isn't just about upholding great designs but about celebrating diversity, inspiring hope and, acting as a catalyst for groundbreaking innovation. It takes all types to design a future that works for everyone, that's why we're always on the lookout for the next game-changers — whoever you might be!

Nominating a solution is free and easy, all you need to do is register online and follow the prompts. You can enter your own project, nominate on behalf of others or simply send us a tip if you think there's something we should know about.

Five categories representing human life from inside out.
Body 182
Home 92
Work 125
Play & Learning 84
Community 212
Body comprises all designs that aim to keep us physically and mentally healthy. This can include wearables, devices, apps and all care-related products and services.
View all 182 Body nominations
Browse our catalogue of previous Index Award winners
Browse our catalogue of previous Index Award winners
2019
Project Coelicolor
Can biology fix the fashion industry?
2019
Marsha
The Mars-shot design that could help us survive on Earth
2019
Pisces
LED lights to reduce bycatch by up to 90%
2019
Xbox Adaptive Controller
The redesigned game controller that lets everyone play
2019
Solar Foods
Making food from electricity and CO2
2019
Thumy
Temporary tattoos to empower diabetic children
2017
Greenwave
Vertical ocean farms that can feed us and help our seas
2017
Zipline
A ground-breaking drone delivery system saving lives in remote Africa
2017
Paperfuge
A 20-cent hand-powered centrifuge
2017
what3words
A revolutionary addressing system to put everyone, everywhere on the map
2017
Ethereum
Internet 2.0: A new platform to give the power back to the people
2017
Labster
The future of scientific education
2015
Peek Retina
Instant eye exams anywhere in the world
2015
Tesla Powerwall
A home battery offering independence from the power grid
2015
The Ocean Cleanup Array
A system to rid the world's oceans of plastic
2015
Sky Urban Vertical Farming System
Vertical farms to boost veggie output with minimum space
2015
Duolingo
The free language-learning platform translating the web
2015
Desolenator
Transforming sunshine into water
2013
The Climate Adaptation Plan
The Danish capital's ambitious adaption plan to climate change
2013
The Natalie Collection
A trio of designs to reduce child and maternal mortality
2013
Raspberry Pi
The $25 computer
2013
FreshPaper
Taking on global food waste with a simple sheet of paper
2013
Smart Highway
Roads that communicate with drivers to promote traffic safety and efficiency
2011
ELEMENTAL Monterrey
Social housing in a groundbreaking new way
2011
DESIGN FOR CHANGE
A simple design process that enables children to become drivers of change
2011
DESIGN SEOUL
The first holistic design-based approach to improving life for citizens in large cities
2011
Hövding
The cycling helmet that won't ruin your hair
2011
See Better to Learn Better (VerBien)
Corrective and customisable eyewear designed for children and youth
2011
Embrace Infant Warmer
A solution to give all infants an equal chance for a healthy life
2009
Street Swags
An innovative bed and a bag designed for people living on the streets
2009
Chulha
A stove to limit the dangerous health conditions caused by traditions of indoor cooking
2009
Better Place
Electric vehicle infrastructure that makes electric transport convenient and affordable
2009
PIG 05049
Tracing and charting all the products made from a single commercial pig
2009
Kiva
A peer-to-peer lending platform to give everyone access to financial capital
2009
Freeplay Fetal Heart Rate Monitor
Safeguarding childbirth where expert care and electrical power are in short supply
2005
Architecture for Humanity
Architectural and design solutions to global or humanitarian crises
2005
Apple iTunes, iPod
A giant leap for forward for music and digital rights management
2005
Observatorio Iberoamericano
A strategy, network and website focused on improving life for 40 million craftsmen in Latin America
2005
Softwall
A paper (or textile) wall transforming spaces into more intimate and personal surroundings
2005
LifeStraw™
A life-saving device that instantly cleans contaminated water
2007
OLPC XO
Giving resource-constrained and offline communities access to communication tech
2007
Tesla Roadster
The icon that made electric cars cool
2007
Tongue Sucker
The humble first aid device that could save your life
2007
YellowOne Needle Cap
A cap to protect against needle infections
2007
Mobility for Each One
The $8.00 prosthetic leg
2007
Solar Bottle
One sixth of the world's population can't access safe drinking water - it this the answer?
Going beyond the UN's SDGs?

We’re not alone in this endeavour: the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals are a given for any business or organisation wanting to do their part in shaping a better future. But, the world is evolving quickly, and not all of life's challenges can be encompassed in a neat package of 17 targets. The Design to Improve Life Goals go beyond SDGs to chase that moving target, identifying new opportunities for change as, or even before, they arise.

Our goals are derived from speaking with hundreds of people within our global community, from young designers to thought-leaders in business. We penned our first five goals in 2016 and our additional three in 2020, a process we plan to continue every four years to ensure a proactive approach to tackling global challenges.

Navigate Post-Factual Society

Understand the drivers behind post-factual society and promote the value of factual information as the sound basis for global development

Balance Human & Artificial Intelligence

Achieve a healthy balance between human intelligence and the exponential growth of artificial intelligence

Trust, Tolerance & Empathy

Promote trust, tolerance and empathy to achieve a broad sense of global solidarity

Innovative Financial System

Develop and support financial mechanisms that prioritise profit, people and planet - the triple bottom line model

Refugees and Migrants

Stabilise the growing refugee and migrant crisis and promote more inclusive systems for newcomers

Sustainable Tourism

Build and boost sustainable tourism models that minimise impact on global ecosystems and improve livelihoods of locals

Ethical Leadership

Establish a global code of ethics for leadership, at all levels, and develop better tools to hold leaders accountable for their actions

Generational Harmony

Strengthen understanding between generations and create models for improved inclusivity and collaboration between age groups