Vanessa Carpenter

Chief Innovation Officer


Dr. Vanessa Julia Carpenter is the Chief Innovation Officer at Gagarín, an Icelandic experience design studio which has 28 years experience creating immersive, engaging, interactive exhibitions in museums and visitor centers. Here, Vanessa is co-creating, a climate change educational suite in VR. Using her 20 years experience in industry and her PhD in Designing for Meaningfulness in Future Smart Products from AAU, Copenhagen, she challenges the status quo and explores how to facilitate personal and interpersonal self development in our technological futures. Vanessa believes in being a catalyst for change and has launched the Nordic network, “Women in Hardware”; writes for and Greater Spaces at; is a member of the Danish Design Council and is founder and designer at Kintsugi Design, a design studio specializing in hardware, femtech, and creating robust futures.

Designing for Meaningfulness in future products, services and experiences

Many so-called “smart products” and services today exist to feed tech-hype or produce yet another convenience-based gadget which eventually ends up in a kitchen junk drawer. The question emerges as to which products we actually need.

To challenge this paradigm, Designing for Meaningfulness focuses on the nuances of the outcomes of interactions with smart products and services. How do these products help you with your self-development, your relationship to others, and your relationship to time? Designing for Meaningfulness presents a series of tools for design practitioners, product developers, C-level people, academics and creatives to explore how to facilitate meaningfulness in people-to-people, people-to-sense of self, and people-to-time parameters. In this workshop, we will use a series of worksheets alongside rapid prototyping tools and methods, to ask ourselves how our products or services might be designed for people to achieve meaningfulness in their lives. We will develop early prototypes which exemplify the Mechanics and Manifestations of Meaningfulness which you have decided are most relevant for a product you co-create with others during the workshop. Designing for Meaningfulness has been developed at FORCE Technology in Denmark as part of a PhD entitled Designing for Meaningfulness in Future Smart Products and has been used with over 50 companies throughout the Nordics and Canada to help them design for better futures.


These cool companies helped Design Matters to come alive