The final day of Better World by Design began with the Education for Social Innovation Panel. Consisting of Lisa Cicario, Adam Thompson, Tim Zak and Adriana Pentz, the panel delved into social innovation on the forefront of education. "You don't have to decide what to do, you just have to decide what to do next," said Lisa DiCarlo, an anthropologist at the Field School for Social Innovation. "Failure is a great way to figure out if you're supposed to do it, or do it another way."
Discussing various learning styles and approaches segued perfectly to the afternoon's lineup of workshops, particularly HipHopFor Social Change. HipHopFor Social Change looked at how dance could transcend socioeconomic, language, and other barriers existing in communities—a problem that was looked at during the Education for Social Innovation Panel.
The workshop was led by two HipHop enthusiasts from Brown, Emily Goldman ('14) and Pierre Arreola ('13). Coming from very different backgrounds, Goldman and Arreola spoke about their personal experiences with HipHop and how they were using it to change the lives of others in their communities. The duo looked to "Make something out of nothing" said Arreola, "which is the premise of HipHop. Hip-hop is a powerful tool for us to express ourselves and put some positivity into the world."Annie Wu of Design for America facilitating the Farm Fresh RI Workshop.
Design for America was also back again, this time with Studio Lead Annie Wu helping organize a workshop around Farm Fresh RI. The local organization works to create a system of RI grown foods and better the relationship from farm to table. Hannah Mellion, Food Systems Activator for Farm Fresh RI was also in attendance, and she and Wu pitched the problems the organization had been facing in recent years to the attendees, who avidly worked to come up with some solutions.
One of the most popular workshops, however, was Prototyping Neighborhoods, run by Marc O'Brien and crew. Here, attendees explored the meaning of a "neighborhood," and, in typical "think wrong" fashion, did everything but. Sunday's workshop built upon the ideas generated from Friday's Thinking Wrong about Neighborhoods session, taking those concepts and developing them into fully fleshed-out prototypes.
From the "Dapper Penguin Playhouse" to "Shite Brite," these "rapid prototyped" ideas were then presented at the Better World by Design Expo, where they were able to share what they had developed and get thoughts from the rest of the conference goers. Always a popular part of the conference, the Better World Expo featured booths of students to professionals, sharing products and concepts they had come up with to maker the world a better place. Hanging lamps constructed from recycled paper and RUNA Tea were among the lineup of excellent booths.
Following the Expo was Failure in Five, a new event for Better World, which "celebrated failure." It was an interesting take on making mistakes, showcasing six participants who presented some of their biggest failures and how they learned from them. Entrepreneurs and students alike offered thoughts on failing and, more importantly, the aftermath of those failures. "Have a vision, be demanding," Max Winograd of NuLabel told the crowd. "Prove yourself wrong."
The conference wrapped up with a closing keynote by Cheryl Heller, Chair of MFA Design for Social Innovation at SVA. In one of the most powerful talks of the three-day event, Heller emphasized that the only thing that truly matters is what one does. "We have nothing to focus but making what we do matter," Heller said. "What matters to you? What are you going to do about it?"
Heller quoted Buckminster Fuller, saying "If the success or failure of this planet and of human beings depended on how I am and what I do, how would I be? What would I do?" Heller said that it's all about priorities, and encouraged the crowd of do-gooders to take advantage of their time and make it count. The conference couldn't have ended on a more motivational note, drawing the last seventy-hours of lectures, workshops, and discussions on making a better world by design to a close.
A fantastic congratulation to this year's Better World team, and good luck to next year's committee!
If you missed this year's Better World, you can catch footage from the lectures and panels being uploaded in the coming weeks here.
See all of our Better World by Design 2012 coverage:
» Day One
» Day Two
» Day Three