Past speakers – Interview with Sara Andersson

TEDxAarhus_2019_Sara Andersson_Past speaker

By Julie Dahlgren Korr, Communication Organizer, TEDxAarhus. Photos by Astrid Collin.

Sara Andersson was one of the 11 inspiring speakers who took to our stage to share ideas worth spreading at TEDxAarhus 2019. Sara is an award-winning designer and innovation consultant at Center for Innovation in Aarhus. In her work she focuses on accelerating sustainable change through design.

We called Sara for a chat about her TEDxAarhus journey and what she has been up to since delivering her TEDx talk.

Can you tell us about why you decided to become a speaker at TEDxAarhus last year?

I applied to become a speaker last year. Before applying I had just made some big career changes. I had quit my job to start my own consultancy business, with the mission to create sustainable change through design.

This meant I could invest in preparing a TEDx talk. And TEDxAarhus was the perfect platform for me to share my ideas on the role design as a discipline can and should take on. It was also the perfect opportunity for me to build network with likeminded people.

Then what happened after you sent your application?

I was called to an interview with the curation team and told them about my ideas and what I wanted to talk about at TEDxAarhus 2019. And then they called me and asked me to be one of their speakers.

Our Curation team runs a number of these speaker workshops in the lead-up to our main event. Can you tell us how you found this process?

Yes. The workshops were really good but also challenging.

I had a clear vision for my speech and I knew what I wanted to say. But it was difficult keeping it within the 18 minutes timeframe. But I had to focus on the essence of my speech and define my key messages.

One of the biggest challenges was to make my speech relevant and easily understood by a broad audience as well as reflect my work and research.

Overall it was a really good experience and I got some great tools to become a better speaker.

How was your experience at the main event?

I had an amazing experience! I really loved it. But I had also practiced a lot leading up to the event and I had memorized my talk.

I wasn’t really nervous because I knew my speech by heart. So I could just relax, enjoy the day and experience the other speaker’s talks. And I loved being on the stage and share my ideas with the TEDxAarhus audience.

I found the whole event really impressing. The setting was very professional and all of the content was relevant and inspiring.

TEDxAarhus_Sara Andersson

How did the audience respond to your talk?

I got really good feedback on my talk. I had a lot of interesting conversations with people from the audience that came up to me at the speaker lounge after my TEDx talk.

So I met some interesting people and got a lot of new connections as a result of my talk and the event. It has definitely led to new opportunities for me.

Can you explain further – What kind of new opportunities have you experienced as a result of your talk?

It has led to new business collaborations and network. It is great that I have my TEDx talk that I can refer to and use as a way to explain my work and sustainable mission as a designer and change maker.

What do you hope that the audience learned from your talk?

In my talk I focused on what changes that need to be made within the design world to expand our practice, from Human-Centered Design, to Humanity-Centered Design. We need to start designing solutions that work not just for select groups of people, but for all of us, including future generations. Solutions that also work for our planet and for all other living beings we share it with.

Designers are skilled at envisioning better futures, prototyping, testing, learning and building until we get it right. But the challenges we are facing right now as humanity are so complex, that we can only solve them in collaboration with many other disciplines.

I hope I inspired the audience to reflect on how they can all grow their sustainable impact – as citizens, consumers and professionals. And that impact can be amplified when we collaborate to create systemic change.

Can you tell us a little bit about what has happened in your life since TEDxAarhus 2019 and what projects you are currently working on?

When I talked at TEDxAarhus 2019 I was self employed and had my own consultancy business. Since then I got offered a new job. So today I work as an innovation consultant at Center for Innovation in Aarhus. Here, I use design-driven innovation to create sustainable change in our community. Aarhus aims to be CO2 neutral by 2030, and I’m very excited to contribute to that ambitious vision. A vision we can only succeed with if we join forces – municipality, citizens, NGO’s, businesses, and research.

Sara Andersson: Redesigning design – towards a future that works for all

Sara Andersson: TEDxAarhus 2019 speaker – Introduction