Dr Wina Smeenk has been professor of Societal Impact Design since January 2021 and is part of the Creative Business Research Centre. She works for parties such as Urban Leisure & Tourism Lab Amsterdam. The empathetic co-design compass that she developed, as well as her mixed-perspectives methodologies and empathetic handover method, will enable her to continue assisting the lab’s research work and reinforcing the lab’s design team. The ultimate aim is to create an inclusive city in which tourism and quality of life are in balance.
Co-design is an inherent part of a collaborative effort. Professor Wina Smeenk is keen to invite all those involved to come up with social innovations for the city. Meaningful design solutions can only be devised once the various perspectives (you, those actually involved and external experts) are represented. In the context of the lab, this automatically implies the involvement of residents, visitors, students, authorities and other for-profit and non-profit organisations.
In Wina Smeenk’s inaugural lecture, she explained how creative professionals can make a significant contribution to the approach to social problems. The world is changing, Wina states, and we all need to join forces to ensure that it moves in the right direction. Keen to find out more? Watch the lecture in the video below (Dutch spoken).
Wina Smeenk works as a professor at Inholland University of Applied Sciences. She is also heavily engaged in professional practice, carrying out assignments through her own innovation and co-design studio, WiEN’s ontwerperschap. She has used her empathetic co-design methods to better understand people with dementia, for instance. But she has also used her method for such things as developing a smart residential and business district.
Wina Smeenk studied Industrial Design at Delft University of Technology, where she specialised in innovation management and user-centred design, focusing on vulnerable groups in particular. She has worked as a designer and innovation strategist for a range of companies. She soon started combining this with roles in education. For example, she helped build the Faculty of Industrial Design at Eindhoven University of Technology in the capacity of programme and domain manager.
She set up her own co-design consultancy firm in 2010 to help clients with social innovation processes. In 2017, she co-wrote Shake it! A Design Thinking Game for Innovation and Transformation with Agnes Willenborg. In 2019, as an external doctoral student at Eindhoven University of Technology, she published her thesis, Navigating Empathy, on practical and student case studies revolving around her empathetic methods in co-design.
Wina is married with two children and feels at home in the creative village of Broek in Waterland in the province of North Holland.
"Involve all relevant parties in your design solution and, above all, do not forget the vulnerable groups."
Wina forms part of the Expertise Network Systemic Co-design (ENSCD). In this network, Inholland University of Applied Sciences, The Hague University of Applied Sciences, HU University of Applied Sciences Utrecht and Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences - supported by funding from SIA-SPRONG - have teamed up, together with workfield and other partners, to do design-oriented research into methods of expediting societal transitions.
Wina set up this network together with six professors from our collaborating universities of applied sciences in order to develop a collective approach of this nature. Based on specific case studies, we will be spending eight years exploring which approach will provide the best support when it comes to uncertain change processes.