Ena Voûte returned to her alma mater as dean in September 2012, after studying  Industrial Design at TU Delft and carrying out her graduation project on innovative packaging at Unilever in the UK. During the 90s she worked for Unilever in a number of European countries, where she developed launching, branding and marketing strategies for products including Magnum, Becel and Lipton. At the start of this century, she was involved in the establishment of the financial services comparison site Independer as its marketing director and she worked as an innovation consultant at Altuïtion. She went on to work for nine years at Philips Consumer Lifestyle on personal care products and at Philips Lighting in a number of international roles.

Ena is married and mother of two teenagers.

Ena: “Now I have been back at Industrial Design Engineering for a few years, I see total confirmation that our students, graduates, lecturers and researchers can contribute a great deal to society. As a designer, you're trained to connect all sorts of different perspectives. We focus specifically on the human side, how to align people and technology with each other and subsequently to see whether the design is also commercially feasible. The knowledge gained since our inception in 1969 is passed on to our students and new knowledge is continuously being added through research. We started out as product designers. At a later stage, services were added, and now we even devise complete systems to improve people's lives."

In the coming years, the faculty will be focusing on five areas:

  • Care for our health: healthcare, and in particular growing old with vitality. The number of older people in society will increase dramatically and the need for care will grow along with this. If we can ensure that older people can live independently for longer and the last years of life can be more pleasant, then the quality of life will be much improved;
  • Let's RE(d)USE: make better use of the available resources so that our planet is not “used up”. We examine designing with materials, including those that are scarce, and the reuse of these, in order to arrive ultimately at a circular economy that goes beyond C2C;
  • People in transit: how can we provide people in transit a seamless experience across all underlying interlocking systems fit for different types of travellers;
  • Meaningful interactions: how technology is attuned to humans, especially in connection with the ubiquitous presence of internet and interaction with new materials;
  • Unlocking people: releasing the inherent power of people through behavioural change. Many of the problems we face come about because we behave as we do. If we could change this, we would be able to improve the way we take care of ourselves and other people.
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