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Design Futurist recently launched a new website. This blog is now hosted at We hope you’ll find the new layout more comprehensive, up-to-date, and easy to navigate. We welcome your feedback and look forward making a difference with you!


American Leadership and the Need for Conservation

It is evident that the Obama administration has taken comprehensive measures to mitigate the damage of the Deepwater Horizon BP Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico. On May 12th it released this statement: “The President has been clear from the beginning: his Administration will not rest until the leak is contained and cleaned up and we will aggressively pursue full compensation for damages from BP and other responsible parties.” It is also worth noting that President Obama and several members of Congress withdrew their support for increased offshore drilling in the United States after the oil spill. Their actions were prudent, responsible and commendable.

That said, I believe we are experiencing a crisis of leadership. The United States influences how the rest of the world lives. The nation has a responsibility that comes with its privilege. Unfortunately, national leaders have failed to push for the dramatic change required to protect people, our economy and environment. We need to address the over-consumption of oil and oil byproducts (e.g. plastics) in America.

Whether we shift to a domestic supply of oil or continue to drill overseas, Americans have to face the hard reality that most of our lifestyles are unsustainable. We must begin to conserve and treat our resources as the limited and valuable inheritance they are.

Many officials have discussed the need for innovations such as smart grids, nuclear energy and improved photovoltaic panels. However, few have pressed for the clear and urgent need for conservation. Consuming less is not a popular topic among business or government leaders though it is a necessary one.

Innovation is very important but alone will not solve our problems. Creativity and inventiveness will offer us new and improved options for the future but today we must act with resolve and as stewards of a natural wealth by consuming and wasting less.

I hope more of America’s national leaders will take a stance for what is good for the people of the United States and the world by teaching conservation and shifting to a more sustainable lifestyle. We have done it before. In fact, after the oil crisis of the 1970’s, America curbed its use of oil for more than 20 years. Oil prices dropped as demand decreased.

In light of the recent environmental tragedy, it is time to pick a side of the fence and hold ground. Either we begin to conserve and design innovative sustainable practices or we continue with the same and label our destructive habits with green euphemisms. I trust that we Americans and our leaders will choose what is good over what is easy. NATALIA

To read more about current legislation to protect the Gulf visit click here.

Photo credit:

Dangerous Chemicals In Your Clothing

Did you know that the products you wear contain dangerous chemicals that have a proven harmful effect on your health? Not only do we have to give careful consideration to the food we put in our bodies, we must consider the clothing and shoes we wear. Worst of all, children are the most vulnerable to the negative effects of chemicals that are added to otherwise perfectly safe materials. Two-year-old children are being exposed to dangerous levels of hormone-disrupting chemicals in domestic products such as rubber clogs and sun creams, according to an EU investigation being studied by the government. So what can you do? Until these chemicals are banned, it is important to choose products certified organic.

Hormone disrupting chemicals used in household products

• Phthalates are used in the manufacture of rubber clogs, rubber boots, soap packaging, products made from PVC, bath mats and soft toys. They are also found in food products as a result of environmental pollution, according to the Danish study.

• Oestrogen-like substances, including chemicals known as parabens, occur in cosmetics, sun creams and moisturising lotions.

• Pesticides, such as DDT, dioxins and PCBs, are also known hormone-disruptors.

If you would like to lean about what the European Union is doing to regulate the this problem, please click here.

The Sustainable Fashion Workshop: NY

Want to learn about sustainable fashion from an expert? Interested in green fashion and textiles?  Want to learn new skills for your career in design? Join the fashion revolution and attend an exclusive workshop on Sustainable Fashion and Textiles in New York City. Award-winning fashion designer and founder of Design Futurist, Natalia Allen will explain the basics of green fashion. She will discuss the important facts about sustainable fashion and textiles to help you make informed decisions as a consumer and discover new insights for your career.

Sustainable fashion is not just a trend it’s a social movement. More and more consumers see the importance of choosing organic and fair trade clothing. But so far there is a lot of confusion around what sustainable fashion really is. So many companies say that their products are green. But how can you tell?

During the workshop, Natalia will bust myths about sustainable fashion and textiles and provide you with resources to learn more.

The Sustainable Fashion Workshop was designed to share valuable information with anyone who loves fashion and wants to become more competitive in their field. Networking is encouraged so don’t forget to bring your business cards. To register, please click here.

Photo featured above:

Harveys creative design weaves recycled seat belts of different shades into a boxy, perfectly sized handbag that’s sure to inspire conversation and perhaps conservation. The inner lining is made of hemp and printed (eco-friendly ink, of course) with  “recycle” symbols incorporating seat belts instead of arrows.

How Can We Do Good

INDEX: is the world’s INDEX: to Design to Improve Life. From Denmark, by the world, for the world.

Kigge Hvid, CEO INDEX: recalls, “The change came about because upon establishing INDEX: we traveled, talked and listened – to designers, media people, CEOs, heads of design and innovation, to academics and to artists – all over the world.”

“During these initial conversations, we strived to understand what a world event for design should focus on and offer if it should be of relevance to our interlocutors.”

During those talks, Kigge says, everyone – no matter where or how distinctive their settings – pointed to the human potential of design and to the value of design perception, not only in traditional products but also in the design of services, process and systems.

Recently, I had a chat with INDEX: about my work, fashion, and the future of sustainability.

For the complete interview visit:

Sustainable Innovation and Jobs

Recently, I had the pleasure of sitting down to lunch with Reshma Saujani, the Congressional Democratic Candidate for the 14th District in New York City (eg. Murray Hill, East Village, Queens). Reshma is a community activist, a Yale University legal scholar, and an attorney in New York City. She is also the daughter of political refugees whose story embodies the promise of life in America.

Reshma’s top priority in Congress will be to rebalance New York City’s economy as an innovation capital and diversified hub of next generation industries that create thousands of new jobs for its communities, and sets New York on a course of sustainable economic growth.

I am a fan of  Reshma and agree with her goals. I’ve joined her and the public in thinking out new ways to spur innovation and sustainable economic development in New York City.

For one, it is important that we support the creation of companies that use technology to create tangible products, which can be in themselves, solutions to our economic and environmental challenges. For the entire article visit:


Revolutionaries are T-shaped and Rare

“Revolutionaries who have driven most recent innovation and who will drive nearly all of it in the future are T-shaped. That is, they have their specialties—areas of deep expertise—but on top of that they boast a solid breadth, an umbrella if you will, of wide-ranging knowledge and interests. It is the ability to work in an interdisciplinary fashion and to see how different ideas, sectors, people, and markets connect,” says Donofrio.

I recently read Innovation that Matters, by Nicholas M. Donofrio. It articulates the characteristics of many innovators and describes them as rare individuals. More interestingly, it argues for a new era of invention, one that thinks not about quantity but about problem solving. Donorfrio, an IBM veteran acknowledges the advancements made in computing but points out the need to examine the world and see what is missing, instead of simply assuming the answer is more of the same.

Today innovation normally centers around more power he says, more storage or more speed, whether it is necessary or not. He argues that better education is the solution to creating more revolutionaries. I agree but do not believe the solution is as simple as good education. Depth and breath can be learned but creativity and good will are not simply products of the mind. NATALIA

For the full article visit: