Recognising that collaboration lies at the heart of climate action, What Design Can Do is proud to join forces with four major design platforms in Europe – Skopje Design Week (North Macedonia), Mikser Festival (Serbia), designaustria (Austria) and Barcelona Design Week (Spain) — to launch an ambitious three-year programme of surveys, design competitions and events. The initiative, called Next Gen Design, will focus on fostering youth participation and instigating a paradigm shift towards circular design. 

Amidst the global climate emergency, millions of young people have risen in response, deeply concerned about the threat to their future and the state of the world. They have shown remarkable energy and creativity in their activism, urging decision-makers to adopt ambitious policies that bring about systemic change. However, there remains a significant gap between hearing their calls and taking concrete action. 

Next Gen Design aims to bridge this gap and address the urgent need for fresh perspectives in designing a better future. Through the creation of an educational platform integrated into official design festival programmes — plus annual design competitions in 2025 and 2026 — the project will highlight the crucial role of design festivals in promoting sustainable practices and circular economy principles. By blending physical and digital events, this platform will elevate design festivals to new heights, maximising participation and fostering engagement with tomorrow’s creative leaders.


Next Gen Design kicks off on Tuesday, 2 April 2024 with the opportunity for young people aged 18-35 across Europe to participate in a survey that aims to amplify young people’s voices on environmental issues. By sharing their opinions on what matters most, young people will get to contribute to understanding awareness gaps and shaping impactful solutions. The survey results will directly influence the following Next Gen Design open call for innovative solutions from young European designers. The survey will serve as a reference for future actions aimed at encouraging the European design sector — particularly young designers — to create, adopt and disseminate creative solutions that contributes to the European Green Deal. To fill in the survey and for the opportunity to win free tickets to one of the design festivals mentioned earlier, please visit this link:

“Next Gen Design provides an opportunity to amplify the ideas of young designers. By providing them with platforms for recognition and support, we hope to catalyse the next generation of climate-minded designers across Europe and around the world.” — Lara Snatager, Head of Public Programme at What Design Can Do

 Would you like to stay updated on the project as it develops? We’d love to have you on board. Find us on social media at:

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