New Job and Fellowship Postings – Quicksand and IDE Cambodia

Designers seeking jobs and fellowships, here are a few new opportunities.  Take a look, apply and/or pass them on through your networks.

 

Quicksand Design – Delhi or Bangalore, India

Communication Designer: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/18454027/Quicksand_Jobs_Communication-Designer.pdf

Design Researcher: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/18454027/Quicksand_Jobs_Design-Researcher.pdf

Website: http://quicksand.co.in/

 

IDE Cambodia – HCD iLab - Phnom Penh, Cambodia

HCD Research Design Fellow
http://www.ide-cambodia.org/images/research_design_fellow_jd_vfinal.pdf

HCD Training Designer Fellow
http://www.ide-cambodia.org/images/hcd_training_designer_fellow_jd_vfinal.pdf

Website: http://ide-cambodia.org

 

Five Skills Designers Have That Global Development Needs

By Heather Flemming of Catapult Design, originally published on GOOD, April 1, 2013

CatapultDesign_Africa_KidsWithCart

“Development is being disrupted,” says Raj Kumar, President of DevEx, a site devoted to helping the international development community deliver foreign aid more efficiently and effectively. Beyond the buzz generated by the “social entrepreneurship” and “impact investing” communities, I’ve seen a significant shift coming from traditional aid agencies in the past two years.

In 2010, USAID, the agency responsible for administering US foreign aid, launched the first-of-its-kind Development Innovation Ventures quarterly grant program. Its funding model is inspired by traditional venture capital and the focus is on scalable and entrepreneurial solutions to poverty alleviation. Similarly, in 2012 the World Bank hired a former Silicon Valley Google.org director to lead their new “Innovation Labs.” UNICEF and the Inter-American Development Bank have also launched their own “Innovation Labs” with similar goals of promoting open-dialogue, new methods, and cross-pollination of models that enable innovative activity.

So with all this talk about “innovation,” where are the designers, the technologists, and the entrepreneurs? The folks behind these initiatives are still folks with international and economic development backgrounds, economics and finance. If they’re serious about innovative approaches, it’s time creative problem solvers are added to the equation. Specifically, here are five strengths designers have that the development industry direly needs:

1. We are systems thinkers.
The problems that plague our world are complex, interwoven, and multifaceted. As designers, we solve problems through a combination of analytic and creative thinking. Many of the best designers I know are themselves multi-faceted and multi-disciplinary. In addition to a design degree, they’re also engineers or MBAs or economists. It takes both sides of the brain to generate solutions to social challenges.

2. Fresh eyes.
Einstein’s “We can’t solve the world’s problems by using the same type of thinking we used when we created them,” couldn’t ring more true. Many of the social issues we’re fighting today have existed for decades and consistently been addressing using old mechanisms—policy, aid, and philanthropy. We are long overdue for fresh thinking to old problems.

3. We have a prototyping culture.
We make a lot of mistakes in development—mistakes that sometimes negatively impact people with everything to lose; mistakes that could potentially be avoided if the development sector fostered a culture of iteration and refining ideas before rushing to scale. Instead, I see a lot of money going towards untested ideas or worse yet, “solutions in search of a problem.”

4. We focus on people.
Many decisions made today that affect the poor are made by people completely removed from their issues. A designer’s viewpoint, driven by an understanding of the needs of people or end-users, is completely unique and lacking within the development sector. The key to better policy, better products, and better public services is rooted in understanding of the key players and what motivates them.

5. We create capacity.
We build things. We build products, services, websites—and by doing so we are intrinsically building the capacity of those who make, distribute, sell, or use what we create. On a fundamental level, giving people access to tools that enhance their capacity is what drives economic development. We play a central role in creating those tools that are useful, relevant, and meaningful.

$22.8 billion of our projected fiscal budget is earmarked for poverty-reduction activity in 2013. Traditionally, international development agencies use the amount of the money put towards poverty alleviation as a metric for efficacy. I’m hoping the next few years shift that metric towards understanding underlying problems and funding new solutions that address those problems. In order to do that, we need a new breed of development thinkers. The next generation of designers is inspired by careers that provide meaning and impact. Now is the perfect time for the development sector to start connecting the dots.

Image courtesy of Catapult Design

Catapult Design at Clinton Global Initiative

This post originally published by Heather Fleming on Catapult Design’s blog. To go to the original post, click here or on the post’s title above.

Clinton Global Intitiative kicks off this Sunday, September 23rd in New York with an opening plenary session on “Designing for Impact” with former President Bill Clinton.

Following the session, Catapult CEO, Heather Fleming, will facilitate a Design Lab asking “How can we provide reliable and safe energy to those in need?” with D-Rev’s Krista Donaldson. There are 1.6 billion people around the world living without power and electricity and nearly 2 million people dying prematurely each year from indoor air pollution caused by solid fuel use in the home. Catapult is pleased to lead the discussion on new innovations in  products, technology, business models and financing that will bring an end to this global inbalance.

Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, CGI convenes a community of global leaders to forge solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges.  CGI Annual Meetings have brought together more than 150 heads of state, 20 Nobel Prize Laureates, hundreds of leading CEOs, heads of foundations and NGOs, major philanthropists, and members of the media. To date, CGI member have made more than 2,100 Commitments to Action, which are already improving the lives of nearly 400 million people in more than 180 countries.  When fully funded and implemented, these commitments will be valued at $69.2 billion.

Catapult is thrilled to participating in this year’s Annual meeting and will be tweeting live from @Catapult_Design.  Tune in to the live webcast starting at 12pm ET.

If you’d like more information please email info[at]catapultdesign[dot]org.

Social Impact Design Competition from Siemens Foundation

Hey all, passing this on from a friend.  I hope it’s of interest and a good opportunity for some of you:

Announcing:  The Siemens Foundation Empowering People Award

The Empowering People Award is looking for solutions or products which have the potential of social impact for people in developing and emerging countries in the following categories:

  • Water & Waste Water
  • Energy
  • Food & Agriculture
  • Waste Management & Recycling
  • Healthcare
  • Housing & Construction
  • Information & Communication Technology

The prizes will be allocated as follows:

1st Prize EUR 50,000.00
2nd Prize EUR 30,000.00
3rd Prize EUR 20,000.00
20 runners up EUR 5,000.00 (each)

Please have a look at the criteria here: http://www.empowering-people-award.siemens-stiftung.org/empowering-people-award/evaluation-criteria/ . This is a great opportunity to receive recognition and funding and I hope you will apply and spread the word about this.

To registerhttp://www.empowering-people-award.siemens-stiftung.org/award-registration/

Feel free to spread the word on social media channels, and find the Empowering People Award on Twitter: @emp_ppl_award

And if you have any questions or need any more info, you can follow up with Vallabh Rao (@raovallabh).

Good luck!

BoP Designer – Status Update

Hi all,

Sorry for the lack of activity recently.  My day job is taking much more of my time than it used to, but I love this content and sharing it with all of you.  I’d love to keep it rolling and expanding and if you’d like to help, I’d be thrilled to have you.  Please contact me if you’d like to be a regular or occasional writer, tweeter or if you have great WordPress skills and some effort to lend–I have some RSS ideas in mind.

In the meantime, I’ll keep posting whenever I can (below) and the BoP Designer Daily is refreshed every day to keep you up to date on what’s going on in the world of social innovation and design.  Feel free to retweet stories and share with others.  Also be sure to check out friends and colleagues on the list of other great blogs and websites.

Cheers,

Dave

Quetsol – Affordable Solar Electricity in Guatemala

The talk below is by Quetsol cofounder, Juan Fermín Rodriguez, given at the finale of the Unreasonable Institute 2012, at which he was one of 22 social entrepreneurs from around the world to be named Unreasonable Fellows.

For more information about products, their input and investment, download their informational PDF below:

Quetsol Investment Kit (Presentation) – 4.8mb – click image to download

4 ways to break the design process mold

This post originally published by Tyler Valiquette on Catapult Design’s blog. To go to the original post, click here or on the post’s title above.

At Catapult, we often don’t know what we’re doing.

That doesn’t mean we don’t have a clue, just that we frequently find ourselves doing things that haven’t been done before. At least not by our clients or us. But that is the hallmark of innovation – experimenting, exploring, pushing the boundaries of what we do and how we do it. And no place provides more fertile ground for the seeds of innovation than does design – creatively trying to solve a problem to achieve a specific goal. So how do we continue to push the boundaries?

Design firms the world over tout their proprietary “design process” as a veritable secret sauce to innovation, treating their particular flavor of design thinking as a patented method replete with branded stages. This is understandable. After all, we are all just trying to differentiate ourselves. And to the uninitiated it works. But, if you were to take a quick survey of all the different design processes, they all follow the same general flow. Something that goes like: explore -> create -> produce.


image via www.mountvernonschool.org

And that’s all well and good. But there’s only so much innovation that can go on around the branding of a well-established process for tackling difficult challenges. Our feeling is that one of the areas in which designers can deeply innovate is not by simply following a tried-and-true process and repeatedly applying the same methods; but by also devising new methods and approaches to fit into the process.

The way is not always clear. In fact we’ve found that it looks different for nearly every client with which we work. And that is the bedrock of innovation – discerning what is called for in this instance – asking not what you’ve done before or what others are doing, but what this situation, right now, is calling for. And then doing it.

Here are four ways we’ve pushed our design process beyond the original, and traditional, model we adopted when we were just starting out. (Keep in mind that our work typically involves designing for end-users very far afield, both geographically and culturally.) Perhaps our readers are already building on these methods in their own practice?

1. Design mind-meld – Think of creative ways to integrate your expertise into the world of your clients.

Instead of doing your own independent research and preparing a report or delivering a prototype, insert a designer into your client’s team for an extended foray. By including a mind steeped in design thinking into their efforts to develop and implement a product, your client will be able to leverage the power of design much more broadly and deeply than they would have through a typical consulting agreement.

2. Extreme co-creation – Integrate the voice of the users into the products you design.

Co-creation has become a conventional talking point among design and innovation firms – as any quick search on the subject will show. If you can find these articles on co-creation in The Harvard Business Review, Forbes and Businessweek you know it’s mainstream. But instead of paying it lip-service, ask, how seriously involved can we get our end-users in the development of our product? Can we take prototypes to the field in order for them to provide feedback?

Better yet, can we modify those prototypes in real-time based on their responses? Even better than that, can we create and modify prototypes in concert with our end-users there in the local context? Can we include them in our concept generation as active, not just passive, participants? Can they be a key component of our iterative design->test->design->test cycle?

3. Design destabilization – Consider how to challenge the assumptions that underpin design directions.

Sometimes the best way of serving a client is not to do what they request, but to instead ask them hard questions and suggest possible options that aren’t necessarily in keeping with their original direction. Such questions or suggestions can dramatically change the course of a project or even lead to it being cancelled altogether (clearly not your desire). This can be intimidating, and should not be done lightly or without serious thought, but it is central to the integrity of your designs and for looking out for your clients’ best interests.

4. User-originate design – Ask how to turn the whole process on its head; instead of user-centered design, how about user-originated design?


image via imusa.org

Here I am borrowing a phrase from Ralf Hotchkiss at Whirlwind Wheelchairs, where they are looking not to designers but to the users themselves for the inspiration behind their designs. This is stepping even beyond co-creation and is asking, “What if, instead of designing a wheelchair for disabled people, you instead taught them to design wheelchairs themselves and then supported them in doing so?” Can we remove our designers from the process altogether and let the users design their own products? Could they, perhaps, come up with better, more finely tuned, more considerate designs? This is a question Whirlwind is asking and, to me, is what innovation in design is all about.

Global Village Construction Set

Open Source Ecology is “a network of farmers, engineers, and supporters building the Global Village Construction Set.  The Global Village Construction Set (GVCS) is a modular, DIY, low-cost, high-performance platform that allows for the easy fabrication of the 50 different industrial machines that it takes to build a small, sustainable civilization with modern comforts.

Those 50 machines range from tractors to bread ovens to circuit board makers and founder Marcin Jakubowski and volunteers from all over the world have prototyped eight (as of November 2011) so far.

I love this idea.  Check out Jakubowski describing the concept in this brief TED talk:

As Jakubowski says, “We’re focusing on hardware because it is hardware that can change people’s lives in such tangible and material ways.”  Not just for developing countries, but developed ones too—farmers, small business owners, etc.  ”Our goal is a repository of published designs so clear and so complete that a single DVD is effectively a civilization starter kit.”

For those of you who got excited about the page full of logos for other open-source hardware initiatives like I did, here they are with links—enjoy!

RepRap
Arduino
MAKE:
Lasersaur
MakerBot
TechShop
Willow Garage
DIY Drones
SparkFun 

Soap It Up! Hand Washing Design Challenge

WASH Unitedis launching a new open design challenge—”to design a handwashing station for a rural Indian household that is attractive, acceptable and marketable.”  5 winners will be chosen to have their designs prototyped and tested with users all over India as part of “The Great WASH Yatra—a traveling festival with a goal to educate and excite communities on how to improve the quality of their lives and tackle sanitation, both practically and meaningfully.”

The challenge is in partnership with Quicksand Design, IDEO, Hattery Labs, Südfeuer and the World Bank’s Water and Sanitation Program (WSP).  Details follow (click to enlarge, and for better quality):

In-the-field prototyping with Jugaad, MacGyver & me

Another great view into real world design and prototyping by Catapult Design—this time from industrial designer Noel Wilson.  Reposted with permission from Catapult’s blog, originally published here.

The value of a prototype is in what it can test. It isn’t always necessary to make it pretty, nor to make it function, it totally depends on what you are trying to learn from it. On a frugal budget, be it of time or funds, one prototype can be made to test many things, and then adapted again to test even more…but really prototypes were made to be broken, and if they last too long it is a sign you’re either not testing them hard enough or you’ve become too attached.  I admit…after sweating over prototypes late into the night in my makeshift workshops (set  up in hallways, bedrooms, bathrooms etc) and scrutinizing them for days or weeks, it is hard to let them go, let alone batter them until they fail. But tough love is justified in this case

Prep for the next days prototyping
– Preparing for the next day’s prototyping

On this trip I was headed to Rajasthan with Wello to visit a  mix of communities around Jodhpur & Udaipur to tune their device to better suit peoples needs and environment (see our Wello project page). I had to carry my kit on some challenging modes of transport to slice, melt, join, flatten, form, twist and repair our prototypes as we broke them.

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