"I've had a blank canvas in my country to create a whole sector from nothing. Having pioneered this sector, building a conglomerate of brands and institutes, today we use the power of 'design thinking' to build livelihoods and industries creating economic impact in my country.
Today our vision is to connect globally, scale up and expand the impact across my part of the world - South Asia, which needs entrepreneurial leadership where there's much still to be done"
Dr, (Hon DCL) Linda Speldewinde
Founder & Chairperson
Linda Speldewinde’s name is known for the immense scope of work she has led for South Asia out of her home country in Sri Lanka, uniting design led innovation with enterprise & building a unique ecosystem. Using the power of design, Linda has made a significant impact on education, the creative sector, rural crafts and communities, as well as social and cultural sustainability.
As the founding entrepreneur behind the Design Corp Group of Companies which is an unusual example of a living ecosystem of businesses, educational institutes, brands and organisations working with design and its power to create commerce, employment and economic growth as their central dynamic. This includes the design academy AOD— which many international universities have been proudly partnering for several years, as well as Sri Lanka Design Festival, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Sri Lanka, , Design Colombo, Island Craft and the Colombo Innovation Tower. With all these initiatives growing into major operations that influence the course of contemporary South Asian creativity, Linda’s work has impacted education, traditional crafts and artisanal communities, design retail & the creative sector, underlined by a unique model of design education. With a reputation as one of Sri Lanka’s most progressive innovative brains, Linda sits on many Boards. This includes the advisory board of the Export Development Board of Sri Lanka, innovation committees under the Ministry of Development, apparel and hotel industry advisory boards and public company director roles such as the Serendib Hotels of the major conglomerate Hemas Holdings.
She is recipient to several awards, including the Women Leadership Award and Women in Management. She holds a MBA from PIM, and is an alumni of the British Council’s ‘Young Creative Entrepreneurship’ from which she hold a special commendation for changing society through education.
Her most recent award was a Honorary Doctorate in Civil Law by the Northumbria University UK, which acknowledged her global reputation as one of Sri Lanka’s leading entrepreneurs, and her services to design through work centred in South Asia. The university sited Linda as a stellar example for their own students in the UK and the global community of alumni for what can be achieved through dedication and creative talent.
As much Linda is a driver of innovation and entrepreneurship, she is also a passionate advocate of female empowerment initiating and driving many initiatives in this area. She is a strong advocate of the potential of South Asian women to contribute to a global landscape especially in the areas of creativity, education, traditional craft and manufacturing sustainability and entrepreneurship. Her work resonates through young design talent, business and emerging creative cultures from heritage crafts to digital retail, blazing a trail of inspiration demonstrating how design can, in fact, change the world.
‘Picture this — a new kind of creative paradise in the making. One that comes from a culture that has its own ideas, technologies and practices in creativity. One tuned into the age-old ideologies of sustainability and wellbeing, as well as the aspirations of tomorrow’s world. A hotspot for connecting with fresh talent, innovative brands, conscious manufacturers and unusual infrastructures in place for product innovation. A place of opportunity. A new destination for design. This is “innovation island”— a mission to create the future face of Sri Lanka’s creativity'
Impact with Design
''Our conglomerate of brands, organisations and institutions is a complete ecosystem of businesses built upon design led innovation. Founded on the philosophy that design and innovation can impact transformative development for Sri Lanka and the rest of the South Asian region, Design Corp group of companies utilise creativity and new ideas to reinvent industries, realign products and services and mobilise talent with commercial relevance. It functions as a dynamic collective and includes a network of entities that begin with education and stems to talent development, mentorship, brands and platforms that create opportunities for recognition and entrepreneurship.
We are in the industries of education, retail and real estate providing retailing design and innovation lead ideas, services and products. Our operations stretch from design education, design consultancy, designer product creation and retail to infrastructure development, promotion and facilitation of creative innovation among diverse groups across industries.''
477, R A De Mel Mawatha, Colombo 4
+94117 86 77 02