IGP Stories

To Prosperity and Beyond: Reimagining the Future through Innovative and Inclusive Design (From the Vault)

Sam Tamayo and RP Duterte

2 February 2024

Last week, we released the final episode of our mini-series, To Prosperity and Beyond. MSc PIE program leads Dr. Onya Idoko and Dr. Konrad Miciukiewicz gave insights on how the program was built and how the direction has changed through the years as well as tips on how to succeed in this course.

Aside from our brilliant mentors, we were fortunate to have sat down with some of the leading thinkers and doers in the realm of prosperity, innovation, and entrepreneurship such as Arthur Kay, Dr. Nikolay Mintchev, and Peter Ptashko FRSA.

Furthermore, we got to have an exclusive interview with inspiring female entrepreneur and inventor, Solveiga Pakštaitė. She is the Founder and Director of Mimica - a start-up focused on creating the next generation of food expiry labeling to reduce food waste and improve food safety. In this blog, we compiled the lessons she provided in our discussion.

  • Designing for Impact

In this day and age, consumers are often searching for a one-stop shop that has everything one can buy or the next super app. However, adopting this strategy does not guarantee success. In terms of Solveiga’s design philosophy, she likes to keep things simple and she attributes this behavior to her background. As she explains, “Us Lithuanians, we're very simple people. We're not a country of many means, so we don't waste what we have.” As such, she makes the most out of her resources and looks for ways to solve problems in the most creative yet straightforward manner. This approach enables her to focus on what really matters and create a user-friendly product that is free from all sorts of distractions.

  • Applying Design Thinking in Problem Solving

Too many entrepreneurs become attached with their solution and struggle to “kill their darlings” or this idea of letting an endeavor go to make way for something better or appropriate to thrive. To avoid this from happening, Solveiga emphasizes the use of the Double Diamond model. Used in design thinking, this framework is divided into four stages namely Discover, Define, Develop, and Deliver. These steps function as a process, which allow creators to organize their thoughts and refine their outputs. Solveiga says that this method can spell the difference for innovators creating “one really good Japanese knife, instead of a Swiss army knife, to do their cooking”.

Figure 1: The Double Diamond Model taken from The Design Council (https://www.designcouncil.org.uk/our-resources/the-double-diamond/)
  • Defining a Clear Mission

For any type of organization, it is essential to have a “why” that the whole team will support - no matter how tough things can get. Solveiga articulates that it will be the North Star which will guide changemakers in their decision-making. In her words, “when you get up in the morning, you have to remind yourself this is what it's all towards”. For Mimica’s case, it is to “radically reduce unnecessary waste”. This serves as their mantra and source of motivation to come up with solutions that will improve the lives of their target demographics.

  • Selecting the Right Opportunities

For several entrepreneurs, they may feel the pressure of accepting everything that comes their way because they feel that “every opportunity is the last time that they will be offered one”. While it may seem counterintuitive, Solveiga emphasized the virtue of being strategic in saying “yes.” She recounted the times her calendars were filled with various engagements, but eventually realized that very little of them contributed to her long-term goals. By taking a pause to think and reflect which endeavors contributed to her mission, she was able to whittle the list down. By doing so, she got to pursue more value-adding ventures.

  • Being Consistent and Showing Up

Networking may feel like a chore to many, but Solveiga thoroughly enjoys it. While attending events and meeting new people could be taxing, she underscored that there are tremendous benefits to be gained if one does it regularly and intentionally. Being present and having something to share shows your genuine interest to be there in that moment. Eventually, this would lead to more people noticing your active participation and see you as a reliable and integral member of the community. More importantly, she adds that being generous with your time in helping others “affords you a lot of great kudos” that may lead to lasting partnerships.

Solveiga gave timeless tips that transcend the domain of design and empowers aspiring trailblazers to envision a better tomorrow. By applying her words of wisdom and turning them into real-life action, wicked problems can be a little less daunting and we can all look forward to a prosperous future that considers the well-being of people and the planet.

Sam and RP are the co-hosts of To Prosperity and Beyond. To Prosperity and Beyond is a mini-series embedded in the IGP’s Life of PIE podcast. It focuses on the lives and experiences of professionals who are addressing the challenges to global prosperity through transformative entrepreneurship. You can listen to this podcast via Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and SoundCloud. Unfortunately, the episode with Solveiga has been corrupted so the authors of this blog wrote this piece to extract the key learnings from it.

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