Vera WINTHAGEN

Strategic Design Consultant City of Eindhoven
Strategic and Social Designer

Design-thinking as a method to solve societal problems: the municipality of Eindhoven has made it a political aim. Strategic designer, Vera Winthagen, is the person who will put it into practice: “We will change the playing-ground”. Winthagen’s work consists of creating innovation by implementing Design Thinking in the municipality by doing projects in the city of Eindhoven and training public servants.

Previously Winthagen worked as an academic, and worked also on embedding social design at design office VanBerlo, while working on social design projects with a selection of design thinking tools, based on the frame creation method from Kees Dorst, Designing Out Crime (DOC). DOC looks at everything from urban planning to product design but steers clear of the conventional crime-fighting armoury. “I’m the bridge between different ways of thinking and different worlds,” she says. “I’m a catalyst.”

Furthermore, Winthagen worked at social and sustainable design cooperative Ideal&Co. She lived and worked in Kenya and studied at The Hague University of Applied Sciences and the celebrated Design Academy Eindhoven.

The public sector in all European regions is facing new challenges due to i.e. digitalisation and ageing of population. This workshop aims at encouraging public sector actors, i.e. cities, to actively use design-thinking and a strategic design approach and methods to support effective and innovative problem solving. Eindhoven and Rovaniemi as European cities in their respective regions (Central Europe versus High North of Europe) have created two different design strategies to solve challenges through design and design thinking.