Purposeful work Environment Finding your path Remote collaboration


Finding purpose in design can inspire new ideas of sustainability and bring about change for the better, even to the most remote places in the world. Volunteers can work with local communities all around the globe to make long-lasting positive change in a collaborative effort to protect the environment.

20 February 2023 • 2 min read

Can you work remotely from the most remote island in the world while helping a local community on its journey to sustainability?

After Christmas I received a call from one of my closest contacts asking if I wanted to travel and work for a month and a half from one of the most remote islands on earth. I knew little about the job, the obstacles, and challenges to reach the island, but when I heard the name Robinson Crusoe Island, I didn’t hesitate for a second and said yes to this adventure.

I left at the beginning of February and after six covid tests, a twenty hour flight from London, ten days of quarantine and a 700 km flight in what felt like the smallest plane in the world, I was ready to start my adventure on Robinson Crusoe Island.

The island was first named Juan Fernandez Island after Juan Fernández, a Spanish sea captain and explorer who was the first to land there in 1574. From 1704 to 1709, the island was home to the marooned Scottish sailor Alexander Selkirk, who inspired novelist Daniel Defoe’s fictional Robinson Crusoe in his 1719 novel. In 1966 the Chilean government renamed the place Robinson Crusoe Island.

My job on Robinson Crusoe was to direct and capture a series of films to illustrate and showcase the positive impact that Lenovo’s ‘Work for Humankind’ project was making on the local community and environment.

Lenovo’s ‘Work for Humankind’ is a bold initiative in collaboration with Island Conservation and the Robinson Crusoe Island community that brings together volunteers from around the world to take part in a once in a lifetime opportunity: making a long lasting, positive difference with a remote island community, while continuing to work in their regular jobs from one of the most remote offices in the world.

During the project I worked alongside an international group of volunteers from Brazil, Chile, Italy, Germany, England and India with the ultimate aim of helping the Robinson Crusoe Island community prevent the extinction of endangered species, whilst supporting its journey to sustainability, leaving a positive, lasting legacy.

Robinson Crusoe Island has one of the most diverse micro-climates on earth and is globally recognized as having one of the highest densities of unique plant species in existence. Yet this ecosystem is also in danger. Climate change threatens the lobsters that sustain the island community, and invasive species have caused a sharp decline in the forest and soil quality. This is life threatening for the birds, plants, and humans that call this place home.

Now that my trip is finished, I am bringing home so many incredible stories full of light and hope but also a determination to meet people who share similar values and the desire to work on projects that are motivated by a genuine purpose rather than the desire for profit.

More and more people are starting to look for their sense of purpose in life and are coming to the conclusion that they have a responsibility to design the work and life they want in ways that reflect the world they want to live in. Many brands are also moving in this direction.

There is still a long way to go but this is encouraging and eye opening. A more conscious, more connected world is possible if we work together to improve it. But it’s up to us to change this narrative.


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