better future

transition design for a


Leapfrog Projects is a global design and strategy partner in ambitious 
sustainability initiatives.

We apply design and systems thinking to address how people, markets and institutions coordinate more effectively within planetary boundaries. 

Dar es Salaam.jpg
Kiganboni, Dar es Salaam, 2014, photo Helena Sandman

For multi-stakeholder project owners

We amplify the impact of multi-stakeholder projects by applying science-based design and governance models that address complexity. Fundamentally, our work aims to align ecological, social and economic priorities to increase collective sensemaking and creativity.  

Learn more about opportunities for collaboration from Sara Lindeman.

For investors & funders

For companies

For cities and municipalities


Furniture shop, Dar es Salaam, 2021, photo Helena Sandman

selected projects

Transitioning towards a sustainable furniture market in Tanzania


In most urban Tanzanian homes, you will find large, bulky, hardwood furniture that are strikingly ill-suited for the relatively small spaces. Besides poor-quality Chinese imported furniture, the rising urban middle class has few affordable options. With the current market dynamic natural forest cover declines, rural poverty prevails and unsustainable import feeds the growing local demand. How might we support a transition towards a more resilient market dynamic , that addresses the needs of the urban middle class, creating rural jobs, without the devastating effects on the biosphere. 



Building on the foundation of a long-term collaboration between Tanzanian and Finnish governments in the forestry sector, we set out to make sense of the local furniture market and the broader cultural landscape. We enhanced secondary quantitative data with extensive ethnography, in-depth interviews and prototyping to sketch maps of potential future value constellations. High impact intervention points were identified throughout the larger socio-economic system.   



A multitude of coordinated interventions are proposed: First, a new local startup is founded to create a digital market platform for affordable and sustainable design furniture. Second, the design and carpentry capacities of local carpenters is strengthened through a program led by Scandinavian and Tanzanian top designers and carpenters. Third, support is provided to strengthen the organization, and consequently, negotiating power of both local carpenter associations and small holder farmers. Finally, to align incentives and avoid unhealthy power grabs, a new cooperative governance model is introduced to oversee the transition period.  


Learn more about our market creation projects from Sara Lindeman.

Lake restoration and urban design in Tunis

Sebkha Sejoumi, Tunis, 2019, photo Helena Sandman



Sara Lindeman

Managing Partner

(PhD Econ, MSc Human Rights)


Thomas Holm

Founding Partner

(MSc Econ)


Helena Sandman

Founding Partner

(PhD, Architecture & Design)


Sara Gottschalk

Head of East African Operations (MA, Design)

Sara is deeply dedicated to developing excellence in addressing complex sustainability challenges. She wants to see a rapid, widespread and high-quality societal transformation towards an increased balance between social, economic and ecological systems. Starting her work in academia, she holds a PhD in sustainable market organizing. Later, she initiated and led a large transdisciplinary research and innovation project on how to co-innovate the future’s sustainable solutions for emerging markets. Sara founded Leapfrog Projects to spearhead transition design.


Contact Sara about multi-stakeholder projects, market creation, research initiatives and policy briefs.


+358 50 448 5040




Pohjoiskaari 5 A 1, 00200 Helsinki, Finland

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