“We are living in era of uncertainty, our minds and bodies frayed by stress. You see it in the headlines everyday: Kids paralyzed by anxiety. Suicides by gun. Addiction to opioids. We live in the most technologically connected times, yet our rates of loneliness are increasing. If you dig deep, the common root is an absence of emotional and mental well-being.

“I’m not talking about the well-being that’s branded through luxury experiences, like wellness retreats. I’m talking about what Maslow missed at the very bottom of his hierarchy: that sense of inner well-being that is absolutely necessary for our survival as humans.

“What’s exciting about our moment now is that science has surfaced the myriad of ways we can cultivate emotional and mental well-being—all of which are new channels for design.

“Designing ways to get better sleep is a way of designing for resilience to stress and better ability to manage our emotions. Tackling loneliness and designing for meaningful social connection is also designing for a stronger immune system and brain protection. (Conversely, enabling chronic loneliness is as bad as smoking 15 cigarettes a day!) Designing ways to help people find their sense of purpose and meaning in life is an incredibly powerful way to design for healthier mind and bodies.

“More and more designers will realize their superpowers. You don’t have to have a doctor or nurse to help people. Designers are healers, too.” —Ann Kim, portfolio director, Ideo Cambridge

Wilson, Mark. “The 9 big design trends of 2019.” Fast Company, 19 December 2018,