Colors are not to be taken for granted

More than 350 million people worldwide are struggling with the condition of colorblindness in their daily lives. Choosing the right matches when it comes to clothing, understanding well traffic signals, reading quickly train and bus maps using colored “lines”, selecting the right coloring pencils at school, gaming … the number of situations where colors play an important role are endless. Miguel Neiva belongs to our Making More Health (MMH) network of more than a hundred social entrepreneurs. He has developed an innovative and very successful color-coding system to make sure that visual “colored” indications can be understood by all in a timely and most sufficient way. 



ColorADD stands for "color identification system". In this system, each primary color is associated with a symbol, enabling the universal system to function. The symbols can be combined and express nearly all colors we know. Based on dark or light backgrounds these primary colors/codes can be combined to form complementary colors. Miguel developed a global “alphabet of colors” and uses a very successful business model to scale up his social enterprise.

The dual students Simon Peifer and Joana Wendler came up with the idea to implement the color scheme at Boehringer Ingelheim, too. As part of their training they worked also in the Making More Health team and became aware of the ColorADD initiative from Portugal. Impressed by this project, the business students decided to connect with Miguel and invested a lot of their time and efforts to in implement the ColorADD solution to the waste sorting system at Boehringer Ingelheim. 

"Miguel has been the best partner we could have wished for", the two reported enthusiastically. The collaboration with him was extremely straightforward and proactive. They encountered great commitment and enormous support from him. They implemented his innovation in the pharmaceutical company to expand the range of his project. 

This great success helps color-blind colleagues in their everyday lives. The project was so well received that at the Diversity and Inclusion Day 2020, Miguel was invited to a workshop to talk about his initiative. 

The students describe the project implementation as a very positive experience. They have gained insights into the work of a social entrepreneurs while expanding their own networks. The exchange with a Making More Health fellow was an enrichment to them as they had to visualize creative approaches and think out of the box.

"Of course, there were challenges we had to face, but we could learn and grow a lot," said Joana. 

All in all, the cooperation with MMH fellows is a simple, but valuable asset for the company. In the future, both students are interested to develop further the ColorADD project at Boehringer Ingelheim. The plan is to integrate the color code also in other parts/activities of the company.

One of the secrets of Making More Health is to offer opportunities to learn about social enterprises and to invite employees to engage and to bring in their own ideas, expertise and networks. All colleagues who are interested are asked to engage – in different ways, from different ages and functions. Together, we can make more change happen – for a better tomorrow!