Since there was a ton of great speakers and content, I’m going to streamline it down into my top 10 moments/takeaways:
My design hero, Emily Pilloton of Project H Design
talked about the two years she spent in rural Bertie County, NC working with high school students in a design/build class called Studio H. She helped transform the town through its youth and gave hope to what was once a desolate and jobless place. The Gain videos will be up on aiga.org
in November but in the meantime, check out Emily’s inspiring Ted Talk about teaching design for change
Ravi Naidoo from Interactive Africa and Design Indaba
blew us away with his presentation about “Creativity is Capital”.
He was so delightful with his charisma and wit stating “the world needs designers who will move beyond aesthetics—out of the silo and onto the street.”
Design Indaba, based in Cape Town, South Africa, holds an annual conference with leaders from all over the globe who are committed to the vision that creativity can help solve society’s most pressing issues. He challenged all of AIGA to participate in Yourstreetchallenge.org
which invites creative plans to improve aspects of a city’s street life through design. I am hoping to attend the Design Indaba conference in the future and definitely think we can make the Your Street Challenge initiative happen in Charlotte.
Leslie Ziegler from Rock Health
shared how designers and developers can save healthcare by disrupting the status quo. Through Rock Health’s nonprofit foundation, that is an engine for social enterprise, she shared the innovative projects like CellScope
that are coming out of entrepreneurs, designers and developers. This is amazing stuff that gives hope that we as designers can really have a hand in reshaping healthcare.
Susana Rodriguez de Tembleque of SYPartners
, shared their mind-blowing public exhibition of IBM’s THINK
that inspired visitors to help articulate a vision for a better world. When working on the project their team developed a “Universal Creative Brief”: Express the essence, Create emotional impact, Deliver the gifts of delight, Compel people to think, Inspire people to act. This brief was shared with all of the GAIN attendees on a small letterpress card to encourage us all to engage in becoming change agents through design.
“The future of design will be defined by problem seeking not problem solving.” - Christopher Simmons, MINE
who makes me swoon every time I hear him speak. His presentation was truly captivating.
Maria Giudice from Hot Studio
discussed the DEO, or design executive officer, which is a combination of strategic business executive and creative problem-solver. “Designers have moved from being seen as makers of artifacts to being perceived as central players in innovative organizations.” I couldn’t agree more.
“Humility is important - you will not always be the expert in the space.” - Patrice Martin, IDEO.org
stated about experiences from the organization’s first year and the failures and new questions that have emerged from applying design to the challenges of poverty. IDEO.org
created the Human-Centered Design Connect
website and HCD Toolkit
which walks users through the human-centered design process.
Gaby Brink talked about leaving her company at the height of her career to start something new that made a difference. This has led to Tomorrow
, Tomorrow Labs
. Tomorrow Labs brings global changemakers into the innovation process and Sparkwise is a web-based data platform that consolidates, aggregates and makes accessible all sorts of impact metrics to inform and ignite communities.
Joshua To, Hattery
and BRUTE LABS
, shared through collaboration, partnership and work his ventures that included implementing clean water projects, tackling childhood obesity and distributing maps to the homeless of Santa Monica, CA to help them locate services available to them. In addition, he was part of the team of folks that started the campaign against SOPA, making it go viral and changing the outcome of voting by congress to not pass the bill.
’s Robert Fabricant opened GAIN and discussed the intersection of social value and business value. That intersection is design. He also shared frog’s Collective Action Toolkit for anyone who wants to organize their community to solve problems, build new skills and gain knowledge. You can download it here www.frogdesign.com/CAT-AIGA
(case sensitive password: AIGAGain)
About our guest blogger:
Rachel Martin is design director of Rachel Martin Design LLC, a sustainable and socially responsible collaborative design studio. As an avid do-gooder and advocate for sustainability, Rachel collaborates with socially conscious businesses and non-profits on a national level to help build unique brand messages that inspire positive change to shape our world and culture for the greater good. Rachel is the AIGA National Director of The Living Principles and serves on the AIGA Charlotte Advisory Board. See Rachel’s member profile from earlier this month