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​On Friday the 14th of October Estonian Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas and the Estonian business delegation visited Denmark, in association with the Danish Design Centre and Design for Europe, to explore the role design plays in business and society. Here we chronicle the visit and share insights from the day.

Visit to Coloplast 

The business delegation began the trip with a visit to Coloplast, a Danish company specialising in intimate healthcare solutions, which has roughly quadrupled revenue in the past 6-7 years due in part to design practices. They were met by Head of User Insight GRD Front-End Innovation Jeanne Marell and Head of Design Hans Falleboe who gave a tour de force of their holistic and innovative use of design thinking as well as doing. At Coloplast everything starts and ends with the user, Marell and Falleboe spoke about designing products for a holistic user experience, ensuring the products can be translated into all parts of everyday life. More specifically they identified the five phases of design:

  1. Scope – look at market and needs
  2. Conception (ideas)
  3. Development (of the best ideas)
  4. Launch
  5. Commercialising

Good design should be simple and intuitive – don’t over explain it and don’t overbrand it, let the design do the talking!

Hans Falleboe, Coloplast


Panel Discussion

The topic up for debate was: Danes – Are they the happiest people on earth - and does design have something to do with it?

It was this question which framed a panel debate, hosted by The Estonian Design Centre, The Embassy of Estonia in Copenhagen, Danish Design Centre and Design for Europe, about the influence design has on happiness in a society. The Estonian Prime Minister, Taavi Rõivas kicked off the panel with a speech about the design driven initiatives being implemented across Estonia, such as the digitisation of a wide range of public services, and the inspiration taken from world-renowned Danish innovation.

“Design is not art it’s about problem solving” Yoko Alender, Republic of Estonia Member of Parliament. The four panellists, design experts from public and private sectors in Denmark and Estonia, discussed how both countries utilise design and the value it adds to everything it touches. Martin Pärn, Designer and Professor spoke about how one of the main issues facing design seems to be the acceptance of it, and is hopeful one day designers are accepted the same way, as say, architects are. 

Visit to Attention Group

The Estonian Prime Minster and the business delegation were then invited to one of the leading design companies in Denmark, Attention Group, where founding partner Henrik Jeppesen gave an impressive presentation of the design work they undertake. Political approaches were also explored; the Prime Minister spoke of design being a part of the Department of Culture in Estonia, but wondered whether it should be under the Department of Business instead. Jeppesen’s response was that it should, in fact, be under both.