Design Indaba alumnus, Dave Hakkens is a young industrial designer from the Netherlands who lives by the motto, "try to make the world better by making things.” In 2014, he took to the Design Indaba stage as a Pecha Kucha speaker, to talk about his Design Academy Eindhoven graduation project, Phonebloks – a sustainable mobile phone model designed as a solution to e-waste.
Now he’s tried a different route by creating a different outlet for solving problems. His new project, Story Hopper is an online platform for sharing stories that change or challenge perceptions, circulate ideas or solve problems. We caught up with Hakkens so he could tell us a little more about what’s behind it all.
The project works off the premise of solving problems through telling stories – a slight change of direction for the young designer who is used to addressing an issue through the design of an object. Hakkens’ says his motivation for starting Story Hopper grew from his education in design:
I’m used to making things to solve a problem, but I realised that sometimes you don’t necessarily need to make something, you can also just share a thought or a story about what you’ve learnt or what you’ve done.
Although he enjoys working with his hands, Hakkens points out that there is a great amount of energy, material and production costs involved in creating a product, which will at some point become waste again.
Hakkens believes that design is a powerful tool to be used not for solving a problem but for addressing or creating awareness around a problem. For him, Story Hopper is a place where you can go to watch short little videos, which inspire you to do things better or solve a problem. By tapping into the sharing culture, Hakkens hopes to build a community that benefits from “stories that contribute to a better world, or stories that inspire and inform others.”
The caliber of the video is not important. "If you have a good story it doesn’t really matter how it looks," says Hakkens.
Nowadays almost everybody has a good camera on their smartphone or the tools or software to make a video.
There is a definite sense of social responsibility that’s filtering into the design world and this has been evident in Hakkens work from the beginning, but he takes an “each to his own” approach to the matter. He admits that tackling problems through design makes him happy, but only because he’s not really interested in design for design sake or as he puts it, “making very good looking objects.”