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Designing for the future: that’s what Dutch Design Week is all about. And as a proud main sponsor for the past ten years, ABN AMRO fully supports that mission. We are an enterprising bank, so we see opportunities in ambition, collaboration and innovation. And we make a strong commitment to the design world, since it’s a major engine of the Dutch economy. As part of that commitment, we organise Driving Dutch Design: a master class for passionate design talents. During this ten-month process, we guide designers on the path to entrepreneurship.
Guiding designers with Driving Dutch Design

Driving Dutch Design is a programme focused on professionalization and networking. The initiative, created by ABN AMRO, the Association of Dutch Designers (BNO) and Dutch Design Foundation (DDF), aims to help designers become entrepreneurs. Founded in 2012, the programme has already produced many successful designers. Every year, 20 to 23 designers take the programme’s master classes to learn more about communication, financing and profiling. What’s more, participants get personal coaching from an ABN AMRO colleague throughout the entire process.

Creative collaboration with What if Lab

What if Lab (WiL) is a platform that connects clients and designers. ABN AMRO is a sponsor of WiL, but was also a client who called on the initiative’s help this year. The theme? Inclusivity. Three design studios were selected for a project that will use design to translate this somewhat abstract value into concrete, daily practice. Ultimately, a selection committee will choose one concept. And the chosen design will help the bank’s employees experience what it feels like to be left out, in order to experience the importance – and the impact – of letting everyone in.
The selected designers are no strangers to ABN AMRO: they participate, or have participated, in Driving Dutch Design. One of them is Mies Loogman from Enlightens. This Eindhoven native enjoys using her work to make complex subjects more understandable. Her starting point: if something is tangible, it’s easier to talk about. In this way, she works with what she perceives to be the unconscious assumptions at the root of exclusion.
Social designers Dorian Kingma and Myrthe Krepel from SMELT, and social behaviour artist Myrte van der Molen are also providing a proposal. All three are current participants in Driving Dutch Design. To help ABN AMRO explore the inclusion issue, they are focussing on Banking for Better Days. These are five paid days of leave that ABN AMRO employees can take each year to spend on social projects. How can these days help employees gain new insights? In this way, the creatives are not shying away from the discomfort that surrounds social inequality. 

The third design studio to participate is MUZUS. General director Sanne Kistemaker explains that service design fits well with the complexity of the subject of inclusivity, and with social projects in general. Her studio also focuses specifically on that. ‘We always talk to the target audience first. Then we design a framework, which we test on them. This is how we arrive, step by step, at an end product.’  


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