Design For Social Impact: An Overview of a Movement


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A brief overview of the current Design for Social Impact movement (although it goes by many names)

The organizations listed primarily relate to the design consultancy model, but several others could be included that step outside this description. Some additions could include: Design Policy Council and TED Talks

Feel free to add more to the list in the comment box.

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Design For Social Impact: An Overview of a Movement

  1. 1. Design for Social Impact an overview of a movement
  2. 2. 2008. Jan. Heather Fleming, a Stanford Engineer- ing alum founds Catapult Design. 2008. Jan. Emily Pilloton founds, Project H, a coali- tion of designers for volunteer community projects. 2008. MAY, in partnership with the Rockefeller Foundation creates “Design for Social Impact” kit. 1981. Paul Polak, a practicing psychologist, starts 2008. July. Continuum creates “Design for Social IDE: International Development Enterprises. Impact” report after Bellagio, Italy workshop. 2008. AUG. Deb Johnson, director of Sustainability 2003. Timothy Prestero and MIT classmates start at Pratt, evolves her initiatives into Design in Kind. Design that Matters as a course in the Media Lab. 2008. Oct. IDEO in partnership with IDE develops HCD Toolkit: Human Centered Design. ‘80 ‘95 ‘10 2006. Sep, Art Directors Club hosts panel discus- 2009. Feb. Worldstudio & Adobe start, Design Ig- sion and start a potential revolution: Designism. nites Change, for students and local projects. 2007. May. Cynthia Smith curates “Design for the 2009. Nov. Winterhouse Studio and AIGA host, Aspen Other 90%” at Cooper Hewitt Museum. Design Summit as a follow up to the Bellagio retreat. 2007. June. Valerey Casey founds Designers’ Ac- 2009. Nov. Emily Pilloton releases, Design Revolu- cord, likening it to the Kyoto Protocol for designers. tion, book and plans for Roadshow. 2009. Dec. New York designers start, DesigNYC, to connect pro-bono designers to community orgs.
  3. 3. The Designers Accord is a global coalition of designers, educators, researchers, engineers, and corporate leaders, working together to create positive environmental and social impact.
  4. 4. 5 The Challenge Design At For Hand Social Impact op The problem is that this great form of Worksh collaboration between design firms and the social sector is still not affordable and thus, not yet routine. Noted innovation expert Clayton Christensen says that disruptive innovation—the kind that makes the biggest impact and goes on to reshape industries and markets—democratizes scarce expertise. It makes something that was once rare and costly, routine and affordable.
  5. 5. BUILDING A SOCIAL IMPACT OPERATING SYSTEM 18 DESIGN FOR SOCIAL IMPACT JULY 2008 CONCEPTS DEVELOPED 19 This system is intended to create an open innovation network that fosters rapid and effective experiments in the social sectors, in ways that embed clear metrics and feedback loops. Other aspects of the system are designed to elevate the visibility and prestige of such projects. This should allow more designers to be engaged in the sector with less friction, lower risk or cost, and greater impact. STAGE DEVELOP & CONNECT 1 STAGE 2 VISIBILITY, CREDIBILITY & STAGE 3 ROBUSTNESS, SCALE & MOMENTUM EFFICACY Talent Farm This stage is about pragmatism. Progress This stage is about big ideas and bold This stage is about pulling pieces is more likely if attached to specific actions. With a year or two to plan, together to act as an integrated system. A talent attraction initiatives: The problems are less abstract, foundations, corporations, NGOs, design mechanism to draw the actions more concrete and tangible schools, economists, theorists, technolo- Mega Event world-class individuals and teams to work on proof of performance gets more apparent. gists coalesce in a very loose network, all around a shared and timely theme. tough problems. A thematic focused AS THIS STAGE SUCCEEDS, Consider: the World Water Initiative event that will engage Analogy: Teach for WE’LL SEE... Network—an early version of a larger, a diverse and only loosely America. Significant increase in the number of more impressive, high momentum event connected ecosystem of committed design organizations and teams several years later. social sector participants partnering with NGOs New business (design firms, NGOs, models to help design firms commit talent AS THIS STAGE SUCCEEDS, foundations, corporations, Collective Action Network and time to social sector projects Power- WE’LL SEE... universities) to share ful concepts vividly prototyped Case How social sector thought leaders and experiences from parallel The power of leveraged networks in which work efforts around a any design firm, foundation, NGO, studies steadily accumulating in the designers can leverage one another common theme. corporation, or university can say, “I want Knowledge Bank Emergence of simple Visibility and tangible progress around Think: TED x Teach for to tap into this” and access the “system” metrics, helping to give rise to better selected strategic topics The power of America x Innocentive x with ease and transparency. insights—pattern recognition, emergence, networks and loosely coordinated Kiva. Analogy: Wikipedia, Craigslist. and other scale effects 1-3 purpose decentralized actions—progress across centered networks that focus on strategic Global Design many fronts all helping to drive the Metrics and issues in robust, integrated ways. Labs Knowledge Bank Young people engage Impact Index in this movement and want to be present Tools and systems that for the next event. Senior people wiling to Ratings systems that help allow designers to be devote their personal or enterprise time, reveal the history, efficacy, productive in the field and talent and effort. and impact of various Initiative Centered support ethnographic NGOs, teams, innovation analyses, rapid prototyping, initiatives, and projects in Networks etc. Team work tools, ways that are increasingly remote high speed Internet objective and transparent Networks loosely stitched access, and good over time. around a specific topic to documentation capabilities Analogy: FICO Credit gain connected leverage. are all essential. Scores. Knowledge Bank A robust global archive of activities, knowledge and Metrics “Lite” progress around topics. Initially, a simple system to track progress and score initiatives: Did the project work or not? What results were achieved? Over OH, AND LET’S NOT FORGET... time the simple metrics will get steadily As statistician George Box famously observed, “All models are wrong and some are useful.” So we can be more sophisticated. highly confident that this early hypothesis is wrong in ways large and small. Still, if we work to understand which things make progress faster than others, which pieces we can achieve in which time frames, and how they interconnect, then we have a fighting chance to make real and collective progress.
  6. 6. The Triple Bottom Line... People Sustainability Planet Profit
  7. 7. ign History: 2003 Beta Prototype n that matters I N N O VAT I O N FOR SOCIAL ENTERPRISE design that matters TM I N N O VAT I O N FOR SOCIAL ENTERPRISE
  8. 8. Incubator with neonate inside 25/39 design
  9. 9. According to literacy teacher, Martine Sogoba in Digani, Mali: “It is better, because without [the Kinkajou], when the teacher is writing on the board, students wait in the dark in vain, and they do nothing. We lose much time and the quality of handwriting is not good.” The Kinkajou is also increasing
  10. 10. 90% of a designer’s time is spent on the richest 10%” - Paul Polak
  11. 11. morality creativity spontaneity problem solving lack of prejudice acceptance of facts Self-actualization self-esteem, confidence, Esteem achievement, respect of/by others Love/Belonging friendship, family, intimacy security of: body, employment, resources, Safety morality, family, health, and property breathing, food, water, procreation, sleep, Physiological homeostasis, excretion
  12. 12. morality creativity spontaneity problem solving lack of prejudice acceptance of facts Self-actualization self-esteem, confidence, Esteem achievement, respect of/by others Love/Belonging friendship, family, intimacy security of: body, employment, resources, Safety morality, family, health, and property breathing, food, water, procreation, sleep, Physiological homeostasis, excretion
  13. 13. Roundtrip to Bamako, Mali: $1,554 Roundtrip to South Bronx: $4
  14. 14. R M
  15. 15. The 9 Steps to Practical Problem Solving: excerpts from Paul Polak 1. Go where the action is. 2. Interview at least 25 customers per project. 3. Context matters. 4. Think like a child. 5. See and do the obvious. 6. Leverage precedents. 7. Design to specific cost and price targets. 8. Visit your customers again. And again. 9. Stay positive.
  16. 16. 2010 Hear Create Deliver Engagement Action Impact Measurement