Service concept that improves humanitarian aid at sea

Service & Social Impact
Research, ideation, concept development, and prototyping
7 weeks
Meyer Turku/Aalto University
Eduardo Hernández, Jiyoung Son, Katariina Kantola, Manuel Rosales, Shreya Kumar
How to design a new cruising concept and improve the system experience?
As welfare is growing and spreading more evenly around the world, tourism is growing equally. One of the fastest growing areas is cruising. This compact way of enjoying special services, experiencing new places and atmospheres appeals to young and old, everyman and the elite. However, there are other types of cruising experience that also need new system experiences, especially if talking about humanitarian aid at sea.

When unrest arises in different countries of the world the first ones to get affected are the people of the country. In unfortunate circumstances people have to leave their countries to live a more secure and healthy life. Often these are people who take dangerous sea routes putting their lives at risk until a ship rescues them.

Migrants aboard dinghies. Photo Credit: Nicolas Economou/Shutterstock.

Syrian refugees on boat. Photo Credit: Nicolas Economou/Shutterstock.

Sea routes represent an increasing risk for displaced populations. By 2030 as many as 1 billion people will have been displaced due to climate change, natural disasters, war and violence.
In 2017 alone, over 100,000 internationally displaced people crossed the sea route between Libya and Italy, according to reports by the International Organisation for Migration. More than 22,500 have been reportedly died or disappeared globally since 2014 while attempting to cross the Mediterranean. 

Sea routes represent an increasing risk for displaced populations, estimates by the World Economic Forum predict that by 2030 as many as 1 billion people will have been displaced due to climate change, natural disasters, war and violence.

Currently, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) lend humanitarian aid to people at risk of dying at sea, tricked to take dangerous routes in overcrowded vessels and rafts not suited to withstand the long trip. These humanitarian missions have focused on providing survival aid, based on alleviating physiological needs as hunger, dehydration and medical aid.
To improve humanitarian aid experiences at sea, focusing on basic and psychological needs of displaced people.
Ankoré aims at improving humanitarian aid at sea, by focusing not only on the basic needs, but also providing psychological relief through a redesign of the human- centred experience and empathetic aspects of rescue missions. After a careful analysis of the current protocols and standards of rescue mission operations on the Libya-Italy route, it was proposed an upgrade of the different systems of rescue vessels, taking into consideration the psychological impact on all the different stages of the rescue journey, improving psychological conditions to provide a sense of security and belongingness. The following design concepts are the result of this exercise.

Ankoré service concepts for each step of the journey.


As displacement problems increase around the globe, so will the need for services that provide humanitarian relief. This platform works as a template and inspiration for upgrading and iterating on future solutions for humanitarian rescue at sea. 

Video and prototype of Ankoré at Dubai Design Week 2018.

This project was an opportunity to develop a service concept for a field that has been overlooked and have not received the appropriate attention from governments and businesses. The focus on a relevant topic such as displacement and migration within the cruising industry was something that happened during our research. As a team we thought that the cruising industry was a bit too elitist, therefore we chose another path and took a humanitarian approach into the process. Personally, I preferred this approach since I was interested in working on projects related to social impact.

With this project we hope to highlight the importance of the entire human-centric experience, including, e.g. the psychological, educational and spiritual aspects related to humanitarian aid in general.

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