Shift+Vieți+Rusu+Borțun: together for ING Tech’s social innovation program

Shift+Vieți+Rusu+Borțun: together for ING Tech’s social innovation program

Einstein, Martin Luther King Jr. and Marie Curie walk into a tech office.

It sounds like the opening line of a joke, but the reason you read the above three names in the same sentence is actually quite serious. The historical figures were given a modern twist and used in a campaign we created for ING Tech (the programming company serving ING Bank worldwide), meant to draw volunteers for a social innovation project called Shift+Vieți (Shift+Lives). The whole initiative aims at developing digital solutions that can enable people with sight deficiencies, schizophrenia, autism or Down syndrome to work and better integrate into society. Although the communication campaign is over when you read these lines, the project is still on, with a shortlist of volunteer teams about to present their proposals and the decision makers ready to choose one viable solution to back-up. Find out more about the initiative and the NGOs that helped bring it to life by visiting

OK, but why is there a modern computer next to Marie Curie and why is MLK wearing sneakers?

As you’ve obviously noticed, we’ve placed the fantastic three next to the modern amenities of a tech office. Yes, Einstein is writing on a smart board, MLK is hosting a stand-up (not the comedy type, but the kind of meeting popular in software development companies) and Marie Curie looks like she just ALT-TAB-ed her Facebook feed for a more work-related, photo-friendly screen image. The whole idea of the setup, combined with the „It’s your turn to change the world” headline was to stimulate the sense of pride in the audience and express the fact that, with the right skills and the help of technology, anyone can make a shift for the better in the world and feel just like Einstein, MLK or Marie Curie.

The history-bending shenanigans in the illustrations were created entirely analog by the talented Florin Ghergu, for an authentic and atemporal look, complimenting the tech-infused imagery.

What about that ad from Piața Muncii subway station that I first saw in the article?

Thank you for the watchful eye, imaginary interviewer conveniently bringing things up at the right moment. We’ve used this particular subway station’s name, which translates as Labour Market, by integrating it in our campaign message in a simple, no-nonsense form (“Open the Labour Market for disabled people”), then placed it on that station’s platform.

And that’s not all we did. Because ING Tech is home to a few hundred engineers with skills that could be useful within the project, we’ve also developed an internal communication campaign. It consisted of a series of posters displaying a rather uncomfortable truth that puts things in a different perspective: the job-related things you normally complain about are actually aspirations for the disabled people who wish to work but can’t. So you might as well quit being such an entitled little princess and start helping those with truly complicated lives. Of course we’ve toned down the whole princess thing in the actual posters.

HL: Ugh! Another Monday morning at the office. SHL: Disabled people wish they’d have a job where they could complain about this. Try to Shift + Lives and find solutions that can help people with autism, Down syndrome, schizophrenia or sight deficiencies to work!

Other employee „dramas” that were used to persuade engineers were the subway crowds and the water cooler being too far from their desk. Genuinely heartbreaking stuff [eyes rolling].

Of course, none of this would have been possible without the client giving the green light so we take the opportunity to thank them again and shout a hearty “rock on!” for their life-shifting initiatives.

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