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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This is my third time here and I love Belgrade’s frustration, it’s exciting. The reason for my visit is also great, because this conference brings a lot of good energy.