This Piece of Iron Won the Product Design Grand Prix at Cannes

A little metal fish is saving lives in Cambodia.

Lucky Iron Fish

There is an art to simplicity. For starters, there is such a thing as too simple. Take the proposed solution to iron deficiency in Cambodians’ diets. Geometry Global from Dubai started by trying to persuade Cambodians to put a hunk of iron into their pots when they cook. That would’ve been a cheap and easy fix.

Trouble was, it didn’t catch on with Cambodians. So Geometry Global tinkered every so slightly. And for their insight, they just won the Product Design Grand Prix at Cannes.

They went back to that basic piece of iron and realized that in Cambodia the fish is seen as a marker of good-luck, so they got to work reshaping the piece of iron to look like a fish. The small change was able to convince people to start using the piece of iron as they cooked and resulted in an increase in the amount of iron consumption of the people that used their little iron fish.

Funny it might seem for such a simple change to receive a design award, the brilliance of the solution was in its elegant simplicity. A problem (iron deficiency) had an obvious solution (get people to cook with iron) that needed design to bring it to people’s lives.

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