“Design in a deep tech company doesn’t create the company, but it can kill it in the long run”

“Design everywhere”- UPTEC round table
Design everywhere

‘Design everywhere’ was the motto of the discussion that took place on 23 May 2024 at UPTEC Baixa. The conversation, moderated by Susana Barreto, professor at FBAUP and design researcher, brought together Filipa Frois Almeida, founder of FAHR 021.3, Maria João Fernandes, R&D project manager at Simoldes, and Luís Valente, CEO and co-founder of iLoF.

From health to architecture, from moulds to research, design was at the centre of the discussion which debated the importance of design in the creation and development of products and services.

What are the challenges of incorporating design into companies

Throughout the conversation, we discussed the challenges of incorporating design into companies, practical examples of design in services, the importance of empathy in communication, assessing the acceptance of products and sustainability in design.

Maria João Fernandes emphasised the importance of empathy in communication and in the business environment, stressing how cultural sensitivity and respect are fundamental to the development of effective products and services in different international contexts. “Image is important! We can’t just be professional and good at what we deliver; we also have to have an image that is appealing and presentable’, he emphasised.

Luís Valente, CEO of the company that wants to accelerate the development of personalised medicines, guarantees that ‘design in a deep tech company doesn’t create the company, but it can kill it in the long run. Because it can allow or prevent certain businesses from happening, which can make the organisation grow.”

On the other hand, Filipa Frois Almeida emphasized the importance of drawing. “Architects and designers ultimately, through drawing, think and arrive at solutions.” According to the architect, “the word ‘design’ should be better translated into Portuguese, it should be ‘o desenho’. And to think through drawing, how to deconstruct or build new collections from there,” she highlights.


Sustainability in design was also a topic of discussion, with all participants agreeing that it should be a priority. From the implementation of new, more efficient manufacturing processes to the choice of materials and the energy efficiency of products, sustainability was recognised as a central factor in the design process.

The discussion took place on the sidelines of the ‘Once a UPTEC, Always UPTEC’ event, a gathering to celebrate the achievements of graduate companies.

5th June 2024

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