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Global Innovation Design (MA)

Eva Oosterlaken

Hello, I’m Eva, a Dutch-American designer. 

My design practice engages with complex, global challenges in collaboration with multiple stakeholders, especially members of the public. In these projects, I work not only as a product and service designer, but also as a facilitator of design and innovation processes. I’m passionate about empowering people to let their creativity shine, envisioning an inclusive future that is shaped through the voices and ideas of us all.  


 • MA/MSc Global Innovation Design, Royal College of Art and Imperial College London (2020)
• BSc Industrial Design, Delft University of Technology (2017)


My professional experience includes working in digital design consulting, combining strategy, user experience and visual design for corporate clients. I have also worked as a freelance designer for the last 5 years, delivering editorial, branding, web design and graphic design projects. On several occasions I have lead design workshops and created educational modules, both within design education and outside of it.

Press and Exhibitions 

 • DE Summer Show, Dyson School of Engineering, Imperial College London, June 2020
• Work in Progress Show, RCA and Imperial College London, January 2020  
• Solo exhibition of the project “Visualizing Community Voices”, Fort Greene Park, New York City, December 2019

Controversy over Fort Greene Park’s redesign inspires art installation ” by Lore Croghan for the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, December 9, 2019 





Grab a Virtual Coffee with Eva

GID Podcast Interview (project website)

Degree Details

School of Design

Global Innovation Design (MA)

Why Global Innovation Design? I pursued the MA/MSc at the Royal College of Art and Imperial College London to explore how to leverage my design practice to create a positive social impact. During the course, I spent nine months abroad in Tokyo and New York City, at Keio University and the Pratt Institute, respectively. There, I learned about the differences in design approaches around the world, how to collaborate across cultures, and how to design sensitively for local contexts.

My design research approach combines systems thinking with participatory design methods, allowing me to understand complex issues from both a global and local perspective. My three projects presented here explore the possibilities within this space. To bring my projects to life and appealing to interact with, I integrate skills in digital making, service design, and visual storytelling. 

In the future, I would like to continue working on public sector challenges, especially those concerning the future of education, democracy, and the relationship between technology and society. 

My vision for the future of design is that it will be citizen-centered. The future role of designers should be to create the conditions that enable as many people as we can to pursue creative and meaningful lives: where they have a say over how they'd like to live, work, and grow. 

Citizens in the Making is looking for partners 

Citizens in the Making is an ongoing project that is exhibited here. To take the project forward, I'm seeking to collaborate with an existing organisation that values youth engagement. Contact me to find out more. 

Launch Project

Which Citizen in the Making are you? — I’d like to invite you to take a scroll-break and test out my project by taking the Citizens in the Making personality test. It’s quick, fun, and you could learn something about yourself. Just click the "launch project" button in the center of the image above. Afterwards you can share your results on social media and learn more about the project below. Not working? Go to on any device.

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Design Process

Design Process

Design Process — Left: Besides a literature review and stakeholder interviews, I also analyzed youth culture through collage-making. Middle: The youth civic participation cycle was one of several models I created to identify barriers to participation. Right: I experimented with co-creation from a distance using digital tools.

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Citizens in the Making is a digital tool for young change-makers. It was developed over the course of four months to address the lack of youth civic participation in the UK. That is: the perceived lack. Although official stats like youth party membership are notoriously low, there is also a palpable energy today for creating, organizing, and participating in activities that can create social and environmental change.

So what’s holding young people back? At the root there is a lack of self-efficacy: the belief in your own ability to be able to make a difference. We all feel this. But the truth is, there is no one way to change the world - there are millions, and anyone can do it! All you need is imagination, energy, and a willingness to grow.

Citizens in the Making brings to life nine unique 'types' of citizen and the variety of ways they can make the most of their skills to make a difference. Young people can start to learn about their type through a playful personality test, after which they can discover matching activities as well as local opportunities. More than just a practical tool however, Citizens in the Making asks us to reimagine what significance citizenship has in our lives. Citizenship is not just about rights and responsibilities, but also about what kind of person you want to become. What life do you want to create for yourself and for others? Which citizen in the making are you?

Want to try the tool for yourself? Go to to take the personality test.

Want to learn more about the design research behind the tool? Or would you like to see this tool become a reality? Contact me (see info at the top of this page) if you’re interested or have any suggestions.
CivicCo-creationDemocracyDesign for social impactDigitalParticipationPublic engagementService designSocial ActionSocial ImpactSocial innovationYouth

What if high school students could engage with global issues in creative ways? — A series of workshops in Tokyo, Japan

In collaboration with Keio Media Design and Fujimigaoka High School for Girls, I designed and facilitated two workshops attended by 100 high school students.

In the workshops, I adapted design methods like roadmapping, brainstorming, and object-making to enable students to learn about the Sustainable Development Goals in a creative way.

In the workshops, students could choose what topic they wanted to work with.

Students imagined their future neighborhoods through collage-making.

Students present their finished roadmaps.

A close up of a finished roadmap, covered in ideas for building a desired future.

Finally, students were able to turn a personal resolution into a button to carry with them.

What if high school students could engage with global issues in creative ways?

During my exchange semester at Keio University in Tokyo, Japan, I created a series of workshops for 100 high school students. The workshops were designed in collaboration with the Global Education group within Keio Media Design and with Fujimigaoka High School for Girls. They were designed as part of an existing year-long school module which engages students with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The aim of the workshops was to not only introduce the students to the subject, but to encourage them to look at it in a creative way.

Through the workshops, students learned the value of their own ideas and the power of their own actions, perhaps for the first time. The workshops helped connect the Global Goals to their own lives and introduced students to creative tools that can inspire them. The workshops also showed teachers the importance of learning approaches that actively involve students. After the workshops, I created a toolkit with the learning approaches used for the future use of teachers.

“Eva blended playful techniques to enhance students’ engagement and finely tailored the workshops for the Japanese context. The sessions inspired not only participants to envision the future they would like to build, but also her colleagues and faculties.” - Marcos Sadao Maekawa, Senior Assistant Professor at Keio Media Design

Who should be designing our public spaces? — A public art installation that questions what role the public should play in the design of public spaces.

A visitor of the one-day exhibition engages with the installation.

The installation features illustrations on acrylic, inscribing the voices of park visitors on the past, present and future of the park.

The installation was on view one cold December day.

Visitors interact with the work and have a conversation about the Park's future.

Inscriptions form a transparent layer on the present day park.

Visitors of the exhibition react to the work by contributing their own ideas.

The installation translates the ideas of a diverse group of park visitors, whose ideas I gathered during co-creation sessions in the park.

Fort Greene Park.

Who should be designing our public spaces? Designers, architects, government, citizens? In response to a controversy over the government redesign of Brooklyn’s treasured Fort Greene Park, I created an installation artwork that celebrates the value of community ideas.

I learned about Fort Greene Park from Friends of Fort Greene Park and park visitors. As an outsider, it was not my place to design for the park. Instead, I wondered: what if the people proposing the controversial redesign had listened to what community members actually wanted? In collaboration with Friends of Fort Greene Park, I decided to use the design process to engage with and listen to a diverse group of Fort Greene Park visitors.

The resulting illustration visualizes my findings. To communicate the project back to the public, I built a 2.5 m wide public installation that was shown during a public event, on site in the park. Stories, memories, opinions, ideas, and dreams illustrated on a transparent sheet of acrylic – show a collective imagination for what “could be” in the park. Despite freezing December temperatures the installation resulted in curiosity, thought, conversation between adversaries, and even a news article.

“This artwork has crystallized our voices.”
- Ling Hsu,
Main collaborator, Friends of Fort Greene Park

My Design Approach — I often alternate between various sets of skills when working on projects. You can learn more here about my design approach.

1. Engage in citizen- and community-based design research — I believe the best ideas are in the minds of the people who know most about the problem. Co-creation and other design research methods help me design perceptively.

2. Envision strategic solutions within complex systems — Design is holistic. Design never lives in isolation but always within complex systems. Systems design, creating frameworks, and other strategic design methodologies help me to understand the relationships between different stakeholders and processes that affect the issue I’m working on.

3. Facilitate design processes with multiple stakeholders — I love to collaborate with organizations, other designers and members of the public to come up with innovative design solutions. I often do this through facilitating creative workshops and leading design processes.

4. Design offline/online experiences and services — Skills in digital making (such as UX design, visual design, as well as basic programming skills) help me to bring concepts to life. In addition, I work with service design methods like roadmapping and customer journeys to be able to make concepts work within a system.

5. Communicate the essential value of ideas and projects — Visual communication skills such as illustration, branding, and video making have been incredibly useful in sharing my work - both to communicate projects back to the public in an engaging way and to communicate the value of my work to stakeholders.

20 July 2020
13:00 (GMT + 0)

Global Innovation Design Graduates Present: Participatory Futures

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