Last week, Cooper-Hewitt hosted the Social Impact Design Summit, a one-day event that brings leaders from design, academia and the community together to discuss the state of socially responsible design, specifically how design can be used to improve "access to services such as healthcare and education and increase social, economic and environmental sustainability."
Not being a leader in the field myself, I asked Bill Moggridge, the Cooper-Hewitt's Director, as well as Jason Schupbach, the Director of Design for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), to weigh in on the day's events.
"We managed to convene a powerful group of international design minds for the Social Impact Design Summit, so we could tap into the knowledge of the people who engage in this work every day," said Moggridge. "We talked about how to advance the field of socially responsible design, spending the morning focusing on three key issues: gaps in the field; successful organizational models; and preparing future generations of designers in the field. In the afternoon, we broke out into small discussion groups to brainstorm solutions and possible action points.
"We never expected to solve these complex problems in one day, but we certainly did get people talking. Ideas, both big and small, were put forth and will be shared through a white paper to be released this Spring, along with videos and next steps for this growing area of design. Several participants will also be contributing blog posts in the coming weeks, and we invite everyone to use our social media channels to add their own ideas on developing the field of socially responsible design."
For Schupbach, the NEA Design program plans to support "social impact design projects through our core grant-making. It is our hope that the information collected from this convening will allow us to assist in building a stronger structure of support for this emerging field of practice, and to also potentially clarify strategies for American designers to design for their local communities and with the other 90%."
Let Moggridge and everyone else at Cooper-Hewitt know what you think on their Facebook page. Let's start a discussion that includes both leaders in social innovation and us regular folk, too.
The Social Impact Design Summit was planned in partnership between Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, The Lemelson Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts, and hosted at the Rockefeller Foundation.
When Perrin isn't scouting the best new design talent for Core77, or working as the Products Editor of The Architect's Newspaper, or writing for Cool Hunting, Design Applause, Print Magazine, Frieze and The Paris Review, she's trying to put her MFA in Fiction from Vermont College to good use.