What is Design for Social Innovation?

A graceful transition to a better world

Illustrating the social design process in a short video - 2014

Before beginning thesis research during grad school, our design-research teacher, Maggie Breslin, asked our class what it means to design for social innovation. Each of us created a visualization of the DSI approach as a way to co-create and align to a vision of the journey standing before us. 

Story and analogy are the most natural ways for me to grasp and communicate a subject. So for this assignment I decided to tell a story that highlighted the strengths of our DSI process.

After reflecting on the first semester, I synthesized key ideas, processes and artifacts that stood out in our process and captured them onto note cards. I discovered three phases in the process:

1. Understand  2. Create  3. Implement.

For each phase, I came up with analogies and vignettes and hand-sketched visuals for them, crafting a story using them as a guide. I presented the final draft on a scroll of paper. 

My classmates commented that the story effectively communicated the DSI approach and asked if I could turn it into a video to share with prospective students and others curious about our program. My classmate, Liz Abernathy, volunteered her After Effects skills and showed me how to use a Wacom tablet to transform my drawings digitally in illustrator (fun!) and to properly prepare files for After Effects. Now it lives on as a video. Enjoy!


Original Excerpts