Karin Aue
Design Director - Chemistry
Karin's introduction

As a seasoned designer and creative leader with over 17 years of experience across Europe and Asia, I have worked as a strategic consultant here in South East Asia and led a strategic design consultancy (Chemistryteam.com) for over a decade. I believe in a planet-centred approach to design, where we think and act on a systems level to ensure the long-term thriving of organisations, communities, and the planet. I have been in charge of a diverse range of innovation projects and long-term client engagements in the field of impact-driven and participatory user experience, service, and circular design.

I have worked with leading organisations on local, regional, and international levels, such as Konica Minolta, HP, Visa, GE Healthcare, Singtel, Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS), Changi Airport, as well as UNICEF and UNHCR, to guide their transformation towards human-centricity and circularity. Next to private sector clients, I have extensive experience working with public service agencies, applying a citizen-centric and fundamentally participatory design process. I have helped to transform policies and service delivery as well as envision new concepts in Healthcare, Arts and Culture, as well as Tourism and Sustainability.

What brought you to sustainability?

In recent years, the focus of my work has expanded from human-centric to planet-centric design.

I strongly believe that design has to play a major role in the critical transformation ahead of us to create a more inclusive, just, and regenerative society. I believe that our job as designers is not only to craft the products and services, but also to envision new ways of working for and with communities, organisations, and businesses. The role of designers as facilitators to enable participatory transformations with stakeholders is critical in bringing such new visions to life.

Which sustainable actions are you in charge of or have you implemented in your organisation?

I had the great opportunity to work closely with the team behind Circo, a circular design and business methodology based on an academic framework developed by the Technical University Delft. Circo translates academic research into actionable design strategies and business models for both designers and businesses, enabling circular transformation.

As certified trainer and head of the Singapore Hub for Circo I facilitate Masterclasses on Circular Business Models and Circular Design to accelerate organisations‘ transition towards a circular, regenerative, and just economy.

I am also a regular keynote speaker and subject matter expert on human- and planet-centred Innovation and Design.

Which challenges did you meet and how did you overcome them?

Very often the first hurdle is a lack of awareness and understanding of key decisions makers.

Sustainability as a topic can be overwhelming and many organisations are risk averse towards change, sticking to compliance. In order to help organisations, trade organisations or public service agencies start their journey towards circular transformation me and my team at Chemistry are providing hands on circular design sprint programmes that create a safe space to explore Circular Economy as a business solution, providing actionable design strategies and business models that companies can test and apply on real-life business challenges - rethinking and designing their products and services.

What are you most proud of?

Since 2021 my company Chemistry is a certified B Corporation. This decision was a ground up initiative carried by the team members as much as by the Directors and partners. As a certified BCorp we fundamentally believe in the power and ability of business for good, moving beyond profitability towards a more holistic and meaningful impact.

What would be your top 3 pieces of advice to the Matcha Initiative users?
  1. Look at challenges from a systems lens - consider and involve all relevant stakeholders in the process.
  2. Move beyond human or user centricity towards planet centricity and consider non-human stakeholders..
  3. Start small to test new initiatives, ideas and strategies early and in a safe space before scaling them.
In which field could you help The Matcha Initiative users as a buddy?
  • Kick Start Help
  • Best Practices sharing
  • Experience Sharing
  • Expertise Sharing
Please describe how you could help The Matcha Initiative users as a buddy?

Sharing about my first hand experiences working with large multinationals, public service agencies or start ups.

Karin kindly accepts to answer your questions.

If you need additional insights, you can send her a message