FLOWinstitute 2006


In 2006, Mads Hagstrom, creative director of the FLOWinstitute, marketed a holistic mindset aimed at corporations and consumers alike called the FLOWmarket. This was the website for the FLOWinstitute.

The new owners of this domain were impressed with the philosophy and approach of the FLOWinstitute and have chosen to keep the original content as a historical record that will remain visible on the internet with the hope of inspiring others.

Content is from the site's 2006 archived pages as well as from other outside sources.


The FLOWmarket: holistic shopping

BY CORE JR - MAY 25, 2006 www.core77.com
Someone recently tried to summarize the changing Scandinavian economy to me as "...the Norwegians invent things, the Swedes build them and the Danes sell them." But this time the Danes are doing it all by themselves with the FLOWmarket. Designed as a response to world imbalances brought on by industrial progress, Mads Hagstrom, creative director of  the FLOWinstitute, is marketing a holistic mindset aimed at corporations and consumers alike.

By addressing these imbalances on the individual, collective and environmental levels, the FLOWmarket sells adroitly labeled products in stylishly designed (but empty) packaging. The goal is to inspire a consumers and businesses to think, act and live more holistically. All are moderately priced from $5 to $20.

This innovative and fun way of re-educating society proves that no one does pedagogy like the Danes.  Mere symptom removers like a pill bottle full of Stress Killers or a cigarette pack of Addiction Liberators will cost you $5, while the more holistic remedies of Inner Calmness, Balance, and Meaningfullness will cost $10. Need some Clean Air? Pick up a 200ml tetra-pack in the Environmental FLOW department for $6. Buy a 100ml carton of Tolerance and share it with your neighbors. Sadly, however, as is expected under the current administration, a soda can of Renewable Energy still costs about $9.



-boosting the hidden potential of Scandinavia

The forces of globalisation are opening up new opportunities but also setting new challenges that are affecting the competitive landscape for businesses and nations worldwide. Challenges that require the identification and development of unique niches and world-class competencies.

At the same time, the necessity of and quest for sustainable development in all dimensions is already having a significant impact on consumer behaviour, business conduct and government politics worldwide.

Scandinavia´s historical track record of innovations such as the cooperative movement, renewable energy industry, wellfare- and educational systems built on a foundation of values such as equality, social responsibility and care have so far transformed Scandinavia into one of the world’s most competitive regions due to top scores on parameters such as ethics, cross-sectoral cooperation, creativity, adaptability and economic wealth.
This leads us to believe that Scandinavia has the prerequisites to play a leading role as the world’s sustainable innovation champion. That a further cultivation of these social innovations, values, know-how and strengths in the DNA of Scandinavian culture and industries can be utilized as a global competitive strategy. Strengths that – under the right conditions – can continue to build wealth and welfare, not only for Scandinavia but also in and for the rest of the world.

We believe that Scandinavia has the potential of becoming a global research and development centre and cradle for innovations that can counteract current imbalances and promote sustainable growth solutions on individual, collective and environmental levels.

We wish to contribute to making this vision a reality by:

  • Launching a number of initiatives to create awareness of the Scandinavian strengths and hidden potentials
  • Influencing creators, enablers and decision-makers from all sectors of society to work for the realisation and promotion of these strengths and potentials
  • Building a network and knowledge base to uncover the potential of Scandinavia as a regional FLOWvalley



theFLOWmarket™ is an design/artinstallation build as a supermarket, promoting an holistic consumer awareness. The market has been awarded with designawards in Denmark and US. A permanent market is based in Denmark and additional temporarily branches opens worldwide. The next opening will be in Taipei from 04.01.07-28.02.07.


An aside: Jump ahead a decade plus and there are now numerous companies who tout their products as green or environmentally aware. Take mens designer eyeglasses. That almost seems an oxymoron. However some eyeglasses ecommerce sites are telling consumers to Protect your eyes and the Earth with eco-friendly glasses and sunglasses. If you are looking for ways to live a greener lifestyle, don't overlook eyewear made from recycled, naturally sustainable, or other environmentally responsible materials. Not only will you look great in these eco-friendly frames, you'll feel great knowing that you did your part to reduce your carbon footprint. They are offering recyclable eyewear crafted from polycarbonate, one of the most environmentally conscious plastics. Warby Parker is known for its initiative to give back to the global community. For every pair of glasses purchased from the company, a pair will be donated to a person in need. Adults and children who wouldn’t otherwise have access to prescription lenses will be granted a pair at no cost. Then there is the company, Tree Tribe who gives back to the planet. For every purchase, Tree Tribe will plant ten new trees. In addition each of their products is made with a conscious effort to use sustainable, eco-friendly and recyclable green materials. Another eyewear company called Woodzee makes their sunglasses from none other than sustainable, earth-friendly bamboo!

At least for these eyewear companies the FLOWinstitutes message has been heard and acted upon.



-a template and a brand

In order to meet the rising demand for sustainable growth and innovation we will have to be able to navigate within the term sustainablility. For this purpose we have created theFLOWmodel™, a designmodel that reflects our 3 dimensionel view on creating sustainable growth:

• Individual flow: balanced physical, mental and spiritual growth.
• Collective flow: balanced interpersonel, cultural, economic, social and technological growth.
• Environmental flow: balanced environmental growth.

A holistic mindset that is the essential basis of all future commercial and non-commercial activities in theFLOWinstitute™.

Thus theFLOW™ is the brand name for our products and services that in each of their own way catalyze sustainable growth.



theFLOWmarket™ is an design/artinstallation build as a supermarket, promoting an holistic consumer awareness. The market has been awarded with designawards in Denmark and US. A permanent market is based in Denmark and additional temporarily branches opens worldwide. The next opening will be in Taipei from 04.01.07-28.02.07.
For knowledge, pictures, shopping online, venues and news please go to:


FLOW: Antidotes for Overconsumption at ICFF

05/22/2006 by Inhabitat Staff / https://inhabitat.com

Danish designer, Mads Hagstrom, director of The FLOWInstitute at Dansk Design Centre, brought a show-stopping installation to ICFF. FlowMarket sits in the middle of the exhibit floor, enclosed in a sheer white curtain. The booth is set up as a store, but the products on the shelves are empty containers with generic labels addressing the plagues of consumer culture.

Plastic drink bottles read “Clean Tap Water”; Spam-like tins say “100% GMO”; a cold case contains aluminum soda cans labeled “Renewable Energy”; rows of pill bottles say “Valuebased Consumption.” It’s a powerful space – clean and white – with a hanging poster in the middle quoting our friend, Anna Lappe: “Every time you spend money, you’re casting a vote for the kind of world you want.”

What’s a little disconcerting is that this booth isn’t just set up as a store, it is one. You can buy everything you see.

And people were buying! Granted, like a gift shop in a museum, the items you can pick up at FlowMarket are low-cost compared to the pricey, high-design items on display throughout the rest of the building. They are takeaways that act as little reminders of the show, and of they wheel of consumerism we’re all spinning.

Nevertheless, I wonder how the designer reconciles selling disposable packaging as a means of criticizing overconsumption. I’m betting he has a good answer to my question, and I plan to get it. I’m officially obsessed with this project, so there will be more to come. Keep an eye out.

+ The FLOWInstitute

“Traditionally, sustainability is conceived as an environmental issue, but theFLOWinstitute has developed theFLOWmodel, which concretizes sustainable growth on three levels: Man’s relationship with himself (the individual), man’s relationship with others (the collective) and man’s relationship with nature (the environmental).”




At a yearly event the theFLOWaward™ is made to celebrate and acknowledge one of the many true FLOWheros of the world: A sustainability pioneer who has achieved to address all three dimensions of the theFLOWmodel.

The first FLOWaward event will be in May 2007.

Nominations of eligible candidates to theFLOWaward™ can be e-mailed to nom@theflowaward.com with the following details:

  1. Name and contact data of the nominated candidate or organisation
  2. How one or all three dimensions of the theFLOWmodel™ are being practiced
  3. (Expected) outcomes of this practice / who it is benefiting


new needs

A rising demand for sustainable innovation

Throughout the 20th century the pursuit for technological and economic progress has given the industrialized world great new possibilities but has also resulted in a wide range of imbalances and challenges on 3 levels:

• The individual - man’s relation to oneself: (rising stress- depression- and obesity curves, addictions, eating disorders, symptom treatment etc.)

• The collective - man’s relation to society: (over-consumption, increasing fear, xenophobia, global inequality, cultural rectification, conflicts over resources, commercialisation etc.)

• The environmental - man’s relation to nature: (pollution, agricultural toxics, factory farming, decreasing
bio-diversity etc.)

Challenges that individually and together bear witness to an unhealthy development of our societies. As a response a need for more sustainable growth is rising to the top of the agenda of individuals, business and nations.

Thus a new consumer market based on values is expanding rapidly, where the materialistically rich consumer increasingly judges products and sevices on their immaterial values and on level of sustainability.

Businesses, whose role is changing from being production units to becoming ”corporate citizens” know this. They themselves point towards social responsibility and innovation as the most important competitive parameters of tomorrow, but they lack the skills to combine the to notions.



A FLOWproduct is caracterised by providing healthy solutions on both the individual, the collective and the environmental level.

A wide range of products created from the FLOWmodel™ are in progress, and will be serving consumer markets in the near future.


Influx interview- mads hagstrom- danish design center

February 2, 2006 / http://influxinsights.com

In the latest interview, Influx spoke with Mads Hagstrom, the director of The Flow Institute  at the Danish Design Center. Flow is an effort by the institute to get people to think about sustainability and to promote the Danish perspective on the subject.

As Mads mentions in the interview, one of the most innovative approaches Flow has taken to get its message out is to set up pop-up stores that sell empty product packages that communicate key information about sustainability. In short, Denmark is making an effort to emerge as the thought leader in the sustainability debate.

1.What is the Flow Institute

The purpose of FLOWinstitute is therefore to facilitate and contribute to sustainable growth by offering products and services to consumers and businesses as well as development activities for individuals, organizations, companies and other institutions. We also want to spread the acknowledgement of sustainable growth as a viable business practice, as well as acknowledge those already active in this field in their own unique way.

2. What was its inspiration?

My desire to contribute to more sustainable growth.

The concept of sustainability is traditionally conceived in terms of environmental protection. Sustainability can, however, also be understood in a much broader sense as a general parameter for balance/imbalance.

In the industrial age growth has been associated with economic growth and an increase in size or quantity. Growth for the sake of growing.

In the age of wisdom and innovation, growth is about development and positive change on both an economic, social, technological, environmental and individual level.

Sustainable growth for the sake of replenishing, restoring, and nourishing the rest of the world.

3.Where can one find Flow products?

FLOWmarket is a shop specifically designed to lift consciousness by simply selling the holistic FLOWmindset. The values have been transformed into physical products in the shape of aesthetically designed empty packaging and containers with print-on labels that the visiting consumers can buy at prices ranging from 15-150 dkr.

A few examples, under the product category “individual flow” the shop offers: stress killers, addiction liberators, inner calmness, and “meaningfulness”.

Under the product category “collective flow” the shop offers: “Consumption moderators”, “Commercial-free space”, “tolerance” and “non-reach ability”.

Under the product category “Environmental flow” the shop offers: “pollution dissolver”, “organic food”, “clean tap water” and “clean air”.

In keeping with these new scarcity goods FLOWmarket is highlighting Danish elite companies that have succeeded in gaining a leading position in the rapidly expanding “holistic market” through their unique approach to sustainable innovation.

The first FLOW market open end in 2004 at the Danish design centre- and has since then been granted a permanent status. In November 2005 we had one open in Zurich for a month- a great success. Therefore we are now planning on opening permanent ones in capitals around the world.

4. Why is Denmark’s point of view different from other countries?

Because we have our own unique history, cultural values, state model etc. We are currently working on a strategy to promote Denmark and Scandinavia as an international FLOWvalley- a superhub for sustainable science, innovation and business. We see a great hidden potential-e.g. Denmark possesses one the world’s biggest share of the renewable energy and has one of the world’s most progressive research fields in this area. We have a unique welfare state model founded in social caring and equality. We have a cultural fundament from movements like the folks school and co-operative movement. One of the biggest Danish tourist attractions is the freecity “Christiania” based in Copenhagen.

These are all small examples of the hidden potential in Denmark where we can add a unique angle to the whole field of innovation. Unfortunately the politicians don’t see this yet; instead they are very busy on following American, Indian and Chinese approaches to innovation. (Where growth is primarily an expression for economical growth) Therefore we see it as one our roles to gently guide them to see this huge hidden potential.

5.When will Flow come to the United States?

Very soon we hope. There’s a small possibility that the FLOWmarket will hit NY in May 2006- but it’s still uncertain.



Speaks/lectures -
[Conscious consumerism, social entrepreneurship and corporate social innovation
- the next billion dollar market.]
[theFLOWmodel™-a sustainable innovationtool for entrepreneurs and leaders.”
[Creating theFLOWproducts™.]
[The hidden potential of Scandinavia - unfolding theFLOWvalley]

Comments & questions:

Founder and FLOWdirector, Mads Hagstrøm:

c/o Danish Design Centre
27, HC Andersens Boulevard
DK-1553 CPH V

+45 3369 3312