Giving expression to a new social culture

Social Mantra, March 1, 2013

KRISTINE OUSTRUP is founder of Qi GLOBAL, an incubator for social entrepreneurs to grow ideas for a better tomorrow. Qi is a global network of thought-leaders in design, innovation and sustainability, nurturing ideas, projects and programmes on finding solutions to social and environmental problems.


Kristine’s early career has been in international marketing and branding, specifically in the fashion and lifestyle industry, working with brands such as DIESEL, Chanel and Nike – including publishing for luxury brands.


She has also contributed substantially to Mood Consumption Theory, later Elemental Experience Design (EED), merging Western and Asian thought and design processes into one flexible design and marketing tool.


Originally from Denmark, Kristine now lives and works in Singapore. In 2009, Kristine founded Qi GLOBAL as a social enterprise with the mission ‘Human Progress in Harmony with Nature’.


When I began Social Mantra in 2011, Kristine was one of the first persons I had thought of interviewing for my blog. I am happy to present this interview now.


You have been involved with fashion, lifestyle and luxury brands – and even invented your own MOOD Theory. What attracted you to sustainable design? How did this idea start?

Someone told me that business is not personal and I wanted to prove him wrong. Business is personal and that’s why it needs to be better for all.


What exactly is Qi Global? What is its purpose and mission?

We are launching Garden of Qi, which will be an incubator for social entrepreneurs to grow ideas for a better tomorrow. Qi Global will be a group of investors, who believe in sustainability.


 ‘Human progress in harmony with nature’ is such a beautiful line. How does it describe or define the work that Qi Global does?

That mission is core of all the work we do. If it does not benefit people or nature, what’s the point?


When you talk about sustainable design – or innovation, design and sustainability – what kind of innovations are you talking about? Can you give us a few examples of the work that you and Qi Global have been involved in?

At the moment we are incubating a project to use fine dining to save the Asian rainforests, we call it conservation gastronomy. We have also designed a concept to empower Timorese coffee farmers, the poorest in Asia, through a new kind of retail experience.


How does this kind of innovation improve and impact our lives – and the environment? Can these improvements, this impact, be measured?

Yes, they can be measured but are still early days.


What defines sustainable design? Are there key characteristics (or guidelines) of sustainable design that designers, architects, urban/town planners, and others must base their innovations upon? What challenges must they be ready to face when designing projects that must be sustainable?

Follow your heart and ask yourself if this product is making a better tomorrow?


Qi Global has been particularly successful in bringing like-minded and motivated individuals and businesses together to create what might be called a paradigm shift in sustainable design. What is driving these individuals and businesses? What incentive is there for them to proactively participate in sustainable design projects while others are not?

Passion, Passion and Passion.


Your work at Qi Global must be creating a huge body of knowledge on innovation, design and sustainability. Do you intend to make this available to the whole world? What’s your plan for the future?

We want to grow the best and most successful social enterprises in Asia. For the benefit of all people living here. And I want to tell my two daughters that I made a difference  when they grow up. At least I tried…

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