JULY 2008DESIGN FOR SOCIAL IMPACT 3
The private sector has long since learned this deceptively simple lesson.These days, you can’t touch anything—rom a vegetable peeler to atoothbrush, a cell phone to a sneaker—without seeing (and eeling) thedierence design can make and the commercial success it can help oster.
Recently, this same eect has been demonstrated in the social sector. When design frmscollaborate with NGOs, dramatic breakthroughs also emerge. For instance, IDEO worked withKickStart to create the MoneyMaker Pump, a small but powerul small-acreage irrigation pumpwith hard-to-ignore impact: Since 1991, the pump has contributed to the creation o 64,000new businesses, generating $79 million a year in new profts and wages which is equivalentto more than 0.6% o Kenya’s GDP. Similar exemplary case studies exist: The LieStraw, aportable water purifer that looks like a giant straw, has helped prevent common water-bornediseases and Forbes magazine has called it one o the “ten things that will change the waywe live.” One Laptop Per Child, the brainchild o Nicholas Negroponte o MIT Media Lab ame,was launched through collaboration with design frms Continuum, Pentagram and Fuse Projectto create an elegantly designed low-cost computer that could be used as a powerul educationaltool. More important, it is an example o the power o design to help elevate, onto a global stage,the importance o investing in education or children in developing countries.From time to time, a design or social impact fnds its way into the media spotlight or itsfteen minutes o ame. These powerul but isolated examples cannot be enough. The realchallenge is to move rom intermittent cases o success to a systemic approach thatunleashes and leverages the power o the global design community on some o the world’smost intractable problems.
Des ign ma k es a d i f feren ce
Des ig n Fo r Soc ia l I m pac t Wo r ks ho p
Be l lag io, I ta l y