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Kristel Van Ael has a background in industrial product development. She is one of the managing partners at Namahn, a human-centred design agency, as well as Associate Professor at the University of Antwerp where she teaches in product-service-system design and systemic design.

At Namahn, Kristel constantly develops new methods and tools, and supports clients such as Siemens, the European Commission and Amnesty International. She is the lead author of the Service Design Toolkit and Systemic Design Toolkit, which can be found online. She also co-authored the recent published book ‘Design Journeys through Complex Systems’ that describes how systemic design uses systems thinking and service design to address large-scale societal contexts and complex systems. The book trains people's mindsets and provides tools for dealing with hyper complexity, to enable understanding of systemic problems, and to build capacity to collaborate in teams to produce action proposals.

Kristel is hooked by systemic design and believes that designers can and should contribute to systemic change by understanding how everything is interrelated and how products can be designed and deployed as leverages towards a better future. She studied Product Design at University of Antwerp and Integrated Product Design at Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Belgium).

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