Belgrade Design Week presented Serbia at one of the most important global plenary conferences – the World Design Forum in Eindhoven

Serbia had the honor to finally have one of its representatives, the founder of the Belgrade Design Week, Jovan Jelovac, participate in the official program of this prestigious conference, which presents the best creative industries the world has to offer.


This year, the World Design Forum (WDF) held annually in Eindhoven, themed “Design and the Essential Economy”, begins the search for an intelligent economy, one better equipped to face the challenges of our time.

The issues WDF is dealing with are of common concern on a global level: from employment, social security and affordability of our care system, to peace, hunger and sustainability, urging for radical new views and cross-sector alliances, and concentrating on opportunities in information and communication, which can enable transparency and cooperation in various fields.


On Friday, October 18, Jelovac participated in the Panel on outstanding cases of design weeks, including the ones in Helsinki, Munich and Eindhoven itself, showcasing best examples how to use comparative advantages of a location, and how to cultivate a design week as “bridge between business and creativity”. The presentation and BDW’s slogan: “Create New Value” illustrated the topic in best possible manner, presenting Serbia as one of the few countries in the world with a ten-year tradition of organizing such an useful event for the local economy, with special emphasis on BDW’s significance in the process of joining the European Union for Serbia. The audience, including some EU key decision makers, were all the more surprised when they learned that BDW is the only one of the presented festivals organized with no support from the government of the host city, and with minimal support from the state administration. It was seen as an unprecedented irresponsibility, and opened another discussion on the responsibility of politicians and public administrations for the visions of their countries’ future.


Other speakers at the World Design Forum presented a number of inspiring examples of the essential economy at work in big transitions: Ben Terrett, who presented UK’s Government Digital Service Cabinet Office, a group of entrepreneurs who are reforming the digital strategy of the British Government in small steps from within the system; Emma Barrett presenting the Social Innovation Lab Kent that provides a creative environment for a wide range of people to work together on some of the toughest challenges the county faces, drawing upon best practice from business, design and social science; Geke van Dijk from STBY presenting the case ‘Service Innovation for Train Travellers’ undertaken for Dutch Railways and Prorail, in a process of customer centred exploration; and Daan Kersten, Co-founder and CEO of Additive Industries who shared how additive manufacturing (3d-printing) puts the designer more in the driving seat of the digital fabrication process.

Dutch Design Week 2012

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I stopped working for others because then I have the responsibility and I feel like an advertising agency. When I work for Yello, I can make a fool out of myself. Whatever I do I go through the process of becoming a child, an idiot, totally unimportant. When I have the responsibility to start with it is disturbing." "I think every human is a God. All our life is about becoming like a child, trying to find out who is really hidden inside yourself, who you really are, who is the divine being inside. Great alpinist climb mountains not to become world famous, but to learn something about themselves, to come closer to that inner-child. If you are exposing yourself to the process of climbing the mountain, it is very important you are prepared to make a fool of yourself, to let yourself fall into the emptiness of vague idea, and to have the courage to be a total idiot. Only then you have a chance to die with the smile on your face.