29 July 2010

Six weeks ago, a group of diverse students gathered for the inaugural course of Design For Social Change at Emily Carr University.

In this short amount of time, they covered themes ranging from human-centered design principles to viable economic concepts that help actual change to be realized. The course was intensive but they worked very hard to produce interesting concepts that could be further developed for actual implementation. One group has already begun working with two organizations in Rwanda to enable their concept to be developed and tested there. Another group is going to push their idea by allowing a few families to test their "new vision of hosting in smaller spaces" table (see above image).

Some of the aims of this course are to teach:
Research skills
Collaboration skills
Creative/design process
How to engage creativity in complexity
Critical thinking
Understanding who you are designing for
How to develop real deliverables for your users
Visualization and articulation of ideas

The intensive nature can be challenging but I think I can say that all students (while still mulling over all they've had to ingest) will tell you that the opportunity to apply theory made a difference to their learning experience.

It was an absolute delight to both learn from and teach this crew and as per usual, I am challenged to continue considering what role design can play in influencing the type of change that is worth adopting.

A recap of our weekly engagements:
Week One
Week Two
Week Three
Week Four
Week Five
Week Six (we even had a design dinner to start the class!)

This course will be offered again in Fall 2010.

PS. If these kids can do it, so can we!

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