Submit a Case Study— Global LEAP: New Frontiers in Design for Social Innovation

The team that brought us LEAP Dialogues: Career Pathways in Design for Social Innovation has a new project. They would like to consider your work in their upcoming project— Global LEAP: New Frontiers in Design for Social Innovation.

Award recipients of the Design Incubation Educators Awards 2019 in the category of Service—Marianna Amatullo, Jennifer May, and Andrew Shea—along with Bryan Boyer work together on this new effort to consider innovation and social impact design as a moral and philanthropic imperative across the globe.

“Our commitment is to represent a diverse overview of design practices that are shaping the field of social innovation across countries and continents. Our book will not present a singular definition of “design for social innovation,” but will instead celebrate the many heterogeneous and dynamic forms of how designers engage critical challenges in their communities, cultures, and countries.”

For details, visit their website, and consider submitting your work for consideration. They are looking for 50 design projects that have made an impact- no matter the level of scale. Find out more & submit or nominate a project at http://globalleapbook.com. Deadline is May 31!

Exploring Narrative Inquiry as a Design Research Method

Anne Berry
Assistant Professor
Cleveland State University

Whether working as industry professionals or engaged in academic research, designers are trained to embrace complex, unframed problems and prioritize the needs of end-users. Processes derived from design practice, such as design thinking and human-centered design (HCD), can subsequently be useful in providing frameworks and strategies to address broad, undefined challenges. There are limits to the depth and breadth of information that can be gathered about the complexities of human nature when filtered through these approaches, however. Designing products for people versus designing to affect change within complex political, social, and cultural systems—or what scholars Cinnamon Janzer and Lauren Weinstein refer to as “object-centered” and “situation-centered” practices—run counter to one another. Questions subsequently remain as to how designers should bridge gaps between the design problems identified and the research techniques employed when working towards solutions.

In contrast to “object-centered” approaches inherent in design thinking and HCD, narrative inquiry is a qualitative method particularly suited to human complexity. Everyday lived experiences, their impact, and the social and cultural contexts in which the experiences take place are examined through storytelling. With an emphasis on building knowledge, versus setting out to achieve specific outcomes, narrative inquiry has the potential to help designers develop deeper understanding of the people and systems they design for. This talk, consequently, will address how narrative inquiry can be utilized as a research method for design research.

State of Flux

Natacha Poggio
Assistant Professor
University of Houston Downtown

The climate change debate is divided into two major sides. One argues that the current global warming is caused by human factors while the other side insists it is occurring because of natural forces. Scientists around the world have conducted research that shows human activities contribute the most to today’s climate change. Human activities like the burning of fossil fuels, agriculture and changes in land-use patterns contribute to tip the Earth’s energy balance by trapping more heat, leading to global warming. The increased temperature fluctuations on Earth lead to more frequent extreme weather events (hurricanes, floods, droughts, wildfires) which are another indication that climate change is, in fact, a reality.


“State of Flux” is a poster design series on climate change issues, showcasing our planet in a state of flux. My presentation will address how students of different illustration skill levels learn about systems-thinking, design principles and the importance of raising awareness of natural and human interventions that led to climate change.

Developing Citizen Designers: Our Civic Responsibility

Social Design is the practice of design where the primary motivation is to promote positive social change within society. As the design industry evolves, so too must design education.

Social Design is the practice of design where the primary motivation is to promote positive social change within society. As the design industry evolves, so too must design education. Developing Citizen Designers is a compilation of case studies written by design educators to address the notion that design, and the teaching of design, can empower students to play a more an active role in improving the way they live, interact and communicate with each other and their audiences. My presentation will address how social design pedagogy can be developed to address concrete social needs utilizing strategies like design thinking, collaborative learning and participatory design process.

Elizabeth Resnick is a Professor Emerita, former chair of Graphic Design and current part-time faculty at Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Boston, Massachusetts. She earned her B.F.A. / M.F.A. in Graphic Design at Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, Rhode Island.

Professor Resnick is also an active design curator having organized 7 comprehensive design exhibitions, the last 4 on socio-political graphic design: The Graphic Imperative: International Posters of Peace, Social Justice and The Environment 1965–2005; Graphic Intervention: 25 Years of International AIDS Awareness Posters 1985–2010; Graphic Advocacy: International Posters for the Digital Age: 2001–2012 and Women’s Rights Are Human Rights: International Posters on Gender-based Inequality, Violence and Discrimination (2016) investigating gender-based inequalities deeply entrenched in every global society.

Her publications include catalogs for the exhibitions, plus Developing Citizen Designers, Bloomsbury Academic (2016), Design for Communication: Conceptual Graphic Design Basics, John Wiley & Sons Publishers (2003) and Graphic Design: A Problem-Solving Approach to Visual Communication, Prentice-Hall Publications” (1984). She is currently working on ‘The Social Design Reader’ for Bloomsbury Academic (2019).

Elizabeth Resnick
Professor Emerita, part-time faculty, Graphic Design
Massachusetts College of Art and Design
621 Huntington Avenue, T617
Boston, Massachusetts 02115 USA

Elizabeth.Resnick@massart.edu

Zone1/ZoneA: Reflection/ Resilience

David Frisco, Adjunct Professor, CCE
Graduate Communications Design
School of Design
Pratt Institute

ZoneA/Zone1 took place during the Fall 2013 semester of a graduate-level design studio, at a design school in New York City.
Using the NYC Special Initiative for Rebuilding and Resiliency (SIRR) Report as a departure point, our teams engaged with the five most affected communities in NYC through qualitative research in the form of cultural probes and interventions, addressing each area’s unique relationship to the city’s waterfront and impacting climate change, ultimately creating a set of proposals and in some cases, implementing solutions and toolkits serving to improve grass-root resiliency efforts in each community.

Our objective was to design a responsive communication strategy as well as individual or community-led activities that advanced resiliency efforts and foster behavior change, putting preparedness at the fore. The goal was to inspire and engage a community to take action.

We concentrated on the following 5 communities identified in the NYC Special Initiative for Rebuilding and Resiliency (SIRR) Report: A Stronger, More Resilient New York

  • Brooklyn-Queens Waterfront
  • East and South Shores of Staten Island
  • South Queens
  • Southern Brooklyn
  • Southern Manhattan

Our initiative focused on qualitative research strategies to utilize design as a means for transformation. With an emphasis on a human-centered, holistic, and empathic approach, our teams applied Design Thinking methodologies to localized problems and issues in an attempt to transform the behaviors of individuals in desirable and sustainable ways, while creating meaningful experiences and interactions.

Emphasizing that people are participants rather than simply users, we studied human factors — cognitive, physical, emotional, linguistic, social and cultural behaviors. We explored numerous conceptual and procedural frameworks which guide the design process, in order to address the needs of people and organizations, and convert them into progressive, sustainable solutions.

Spark Collaborations: Design as Catalyst for Social Impact

Natacha Poggio
Assistant Professor, Visual Communication Design
Hartford Art School, University of Hartford

Designing for wellness has extended further beyond the creation of care products to the design of processes and experiences involving patients as learners and users. Visually compelling and meaningful systems of artifacts are part of the “wicked solutions” at the intersection between design and health.

The past decade has seen a radical revolution in the amount and variety of design products and systems addressing life-improving humanitarian issues and showcasing the transformational implementation of design as a change agent. Visual communication design education still struggles to transcend the conversation about effectively implementing and facilitating design curricula that could help trigger and sustain positive social and cultural change while balancing the need for portfolio-driven outcomes.

Approximately 3–11 million amputees worldwide are in need of a prosthesis, most are located in the poorest countries, where physical therapists are seldom available to teach patients how to use their artificial limbs. “Prosthetic Training Across Borders” (PTAB) is an ongoing transdisciplinary research initiative between Design and Physical Therapy departments at [University] and nonprofit humanitarian organization LIMBS International. Faculty leading teams of undergraduate and graduate students collaboratively co-created prosthetics training materials for above-knee amputee patients in developing countries.

Through the use of simple illustrations to overcome literacy limitations, these educational materials facilitate the communication process for local clinicians so they can effectively educate their patients about rehabilitation protocols and regain mobility. By following simple, concise instructions in posters, brochures, and manuals, amputees are able to perform various training activities and avoid inefficient gait patterns. After testing of prototypes in Peru, Ghana and Kenya, the materials are being translated for cultural adaptation to the 32 clinics in Latin America, India and Africa. PTAB initiative not only has transformed the lives of patients, but also shows a practical way in which the intersection between design and health matters.