Countdown to the Danish Design Award: Fostering Partnerships


Danish Design Award Fostering Partnerships 01



Danish Design Award Fostering Partnerships 02

Ahmet Günes, Founder of LEAD THE TALENT.


Danish Design Award Fostering Partnerships 03

Partnership with Impact.


Danish Design Award Fostering Partnerships 04

Sideways Adjustable Toilet.


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A design award for solutions that create value for citizens through new public/private partnerships – that’s what the Fostering Partnerships award is all about at the Danish Design Award. See the finalists, including the LEAD THE TALENT talent-development programme.

Stage two of the Danish Design Award 2017 is coming up. Now, we dig into yet another of the six awards comprising the coming show. ‘Fostering Partnerships’ is an award with the purpose of demonstrating the potential of design to foster new partnerships between public organisations and private businesses in a way that increases value for citizens.

The category is relevant for services that promote improved public services while furthering business growth, resulting in a positive effect for society as a whole. The award is given to a concept that makes growth, innovation and public/private partnerships go hand-in-hand – a concept that facilitates fruitful cooperation between e.g. local/regional authorities, businesses and research communities to ensure innovative design and product development in close collaboration with users.

One of the finalists is LEAD THE TALENT, a talent-development programme that creates great opportunities for both sprouting talents and goal-oriented companies and organisations. According to one of the leading figures behind it, Ahmet Günes, the starting point for LEAD THE TALENT was a discouraging eye-opener in the business community.

“We saw a lot of depressing statistics that showed Danish companies and organisations being very poor at utilising heterogeneous employee groups – heterogenic when it came to age, gender and especially ethnicity. Studies show that poorly-led homogenous groups perform better than poorly-led heterogeneous, but when heterogeneous groups were led well they outperform homogeneous groups”, says Ahmet Günes, Founder of LEAD THE TALENT.

At the beginning of the LEAD THE TALENT programme, ethnicity was a big focus to create well-performing heterogeneous groups. But now all kinds of undiscovered business talents or hidden high potentials, as they are called, are in focus. Concurrently, LEAD THE TALENT helps unemployed talents to get hired and thereby both companies and municipalities, the latter having to provide less welfare payments. In this way, these gain from the initiative as well, fostering talents and high potentials while, at the same, possibly looking for new employees and minimising expenses respectively.

According to Günes, developing talents and spotting high potential is all about gaining the opportunity to receive a lot of different inputs, when you are an organisation striving for success. Thoughts, ideas and concepts will nuance processes and decision-making in the company – the diversity needs to be nursed but, if it’s done well, you’ll have better utilisation of competencies.

“The challenge we’ve engaged in is quite complex, which means we’ll have to team up with a lot of partners and stakeholders. Both private, public and volunteering organisations have offered their interest in and support for the project, discussing how to solve the challenge of utilising undiscovered and unutilised mass talent. You can call it talent development across sectors and business lines”, says Ahmet Günes.

At the end of the day, LEAD THE TALENT is also a way of challenging the term talent.

“We constantly try to figure out what talent can also be, when looking away from the traditional and stereotypically version of talent. That’s perhaps some of the most rewarding aspects”, says Günes.

LEAD THE TALENT is finalist in the Fostering Partnerships category along with the following three solutions:


Sideways Adjustable Toilet

This sideways adjustable toilet has been developed to meet the needs of care staff and users in the healthcare segment.

The jury says

“The highly professionalised Danish welfare system gives Danish business and industry a first-mover advantage in the development of competitive welfare technology. Pressalit benefits from this advantage in their flexible accessibility solutions in private and public toilets, bathrooms and kitchens. Products such as the wall-mounted toilet that is both height-adjustable and sideways adjustable make it possible to ensure optimum conditions for elderly or disabled people and their assistants. The toilet was developed in a strong partnership with municipal actors to ensure that it is optimally suited for real-life conditions.”

Partnership with Impact

“We design for life” – to inspire the future in favour of an even more vital local community. Together the school and the city create design solutions for the elderly, city spaces, teaching, etc.

The jury says

“In the context of the ongoing debate about relocating national government agencies to rural areas, it is crucial whether the new or relocating organisations and institutions make a difference for the local community that goes beyond adding a certain number of jobs. To address this, Design School Kolding and Kolding Municipality have engaged in a collaboration that exemplifies the many derived effects that the presence of a state-run educational institution can have on a city when the municipality succeeds in involving the institution in everything from learning projects at the local primary and lower secondary school to residential architecture. Thanks to the partnership between the design school and the municipal administration, Kolding has in recent years developed into an experimentarium for user-driven design and welfare innovation.”


VenligBolig is a housing concept that makes it possible for house owners and cities to invite refugees into our society and community.

The jury says

“VenligBolig (FriendlyHome) is a social design as well as a welfare vision that brings together refugee integration, user involvement and sharing economy features in an attempt to address an urgent social issue. The idea is specific and feasible and, in architectural terms, VenligBolig is rooted in a Danish tradition for high-quality social housing. The innovative character of the concept, however, lies in the carefully thought-out concept that makes it simple for municipalities and local citizens to work together to find appropriate homes for refugees while also preventing further ghettoisation. In addition to the partnership between the municipality and the home-owner, the project also fosters a partnership, based on informal co-creation, between the Danish family and the newcomers, as they interact across language and cultural differences.”

The goal of DANISH™ is to promote Danish architecture and design in a broad perspective, and demonstrate all the potentials in these fields.

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