Posts tagged ‘advice’

Replay: Commitment Required – The Social Design Job Market

Last night’s panel about the semi-ambiguous industry of social design, hosted by SVA’s 6-week summer intensive “Impact! Design for Social Change,” was appropriately titled “Commitment Required.” The panelists included:

  • Martin Kace, founder of many things, including Empax, an impact-based communications design consultancy
  • David Gibson, a major player in the field of public information design and the co-founder and managing principal of Two Twelve
  • Jason Rzepka, the VP of public affairs at MTV (including their “pro-social” programs) and one of the best panelists I’ve ever seen/heard at a social impact event
  • Lara Galinsky, the SVP of Echoing Green, one of the leading incubators for social change start-ups

The panel went something like this:

In the 1960’s, there was much social unrest, and therefore a lot of creative energy put into social change. We are currently experiencing this type of unrest again, so it’s no surprise that many people (especially young people) are moving towards jobs and careers that will create positive social impact.

Unfortunately, many impact-oriented organizations lack well-designed communication systems; and this likely weakens their impact! The organizations that do have well-designed materials generally only have them because of a few passionate and committed people.

Beyond being passionate and committed, anyone aspiring to be a successful socially-minded designer needs to have a range of talents. The best problem solvers are the ones with multiple well-developed perspectives.

The good news is that if you do decide to jump into the field, and especially if you decide to start your own business for social change, you’ll be greeted by a supportive and energetic community.

March 2’s daily design idea is me paraphrasing Galinsky: designing simple, high impact solutions requires empathy, patience, and commitment.

More coverage on Twitter with #impactdesign


March 2, 2012 at 11:20 pm Leave a comment

GOOD’s 30-Day Challenge for March: Art Every Day.

via GOOD (March 1, 2012):

“…we’re using March’s GOOD 30-Day Challenge to dare ourselves to make time for art in our lives. Below are 31 ideas for incorporating art into your month. If you’d like, you can try to do all 31 tasks in a week, or take your time and space them out. Either way, every time you’ve completed a task, come back to this page and check off the one you’ve done. At the end of the month, we’ll tally up all the actions to quantify how much more artistic everyone got in March.”

photo via Flickr user ignatius decky

The list of challenges is great, ranging from important basics (“Visit a museum or gallery” and “Send a friend a link to your favorite artist’s work”) to more disruptive actions (“Create something handmade and give it to someone” and “Create an artist’s workspace in your home”).

Share your progress on Twitter and learn about the progress of others with the #30DaysofGOOD hashtag.

March 1’s daily design idea is make time for art in your life.

March 1, 2012 at 7:56 pm Leave a comment

Tweeting on elevator pitches: Inc.

via @Inc. (Feb 23, 2012):

“The original idea behind the elevator pitch was to have something that you’d say to a potential customer whom you happen to meet by chance. While the “elevator” scenario is a bit absurd, there’s no question that chance conversations can result in business opportunities.”

The important thing to remember is that an effective elevator pitch “presents you and your offering in a casual, socially acceptable manner. That means no sales pitch. Period.”

image by Flickr user koadmunkee

Here are the steps that Inc. recommends taking when faced with your next opportunity for an “elevator pitch”:

1. Position Your Firm with a single thoughtful sentence. The sentence should “state a quantifiable benefit to your customers that would be relevant to a prospective customer” but still be “pithy enough to be socially acceptable” in the present context.

2. Differentiate Your Firm, if your listener responds with interest to your first sentence. Continue by “revealing one or two facts that prove your uniqueness” in a way that advances your initial positioning statement.

3. Open a Conversation by asking a related open-ended question, assuming that the listener is still engaged. This enables you to determine “whether or not the person you’ve just met actually is a potential customer or just being polite.”

4. Ask for a Meeting in a way that reflects the other person’s enthusiasm or hesitancy. Either way, the goal is “to ask for a meeting to discuss the matter in more detail–so you can drop the business talk and go back to discussing, say, how lovely the bride looked.”The original article by Geoffrey James is available here. By the way, Inc. also has plenty of other great advice on thoughtful conversation in business settings, including the article Smart Talk for Fast Times: 5 Rules.

image by Flickr user deVos

February 23’s daily design idea is business-related conversation can start almost anywhere, as long as your ready to start it.

February 23, 2012 at 8:44 pm Leave a comment

Tweeting on professional development: Lisa Curtis

via @LisaCurtis (Feb 21, 2012):

“…recently I’ve come across some really good advice for young people like me who want to make a difference, make some money and be really effective at what they do.

This advice comes in the form of two books, both of which have overly long titles. The first is The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, a self-help classic published in 1989 that was named the most influential book of the 20th century. The second is the recently released Making Good: Finding Meaning, Money, and Community in a Changing World, a book that has the potential to become the 7 Habits equivalent for a whole new generation of professionals looking to make an impact alongside paying the bills.”

Curtis goes on to outline a nicely mashed-up “Seven Habits of Highly Effective Changemakers.” It’s worth noting that these align well with the “25 Thoughts for Changemakers” suggested in Social Entrepreneurship: What Everyone Needs to Know by David Bornstein and Susan Davis, a book that is also worth a read if you’re looking to develop the changemaker in you.

You can the top-line version of Curtis’ seven habits below, or the full article on Huffington Post Impact:

Habit 1: Develop a Personal Mission Statement (aka a “daily mantra”)
Habit 2: Envision What Success Looks Like
Habit 3: Cultivate Your Special Powers
Habit 4: Find Your Inner Circle
Habit 5: Practice Deep Listening
Habit 6: Seek Synergy (aka learn to play nice with others)
Habit 7: Practice

February 21’s daily design idea is a quote from Aristotle, which Curtis also uses as her concluding thought in the Huffington Post piece: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

February 21, 2012 at 4:34 pm 2 comments

Six bits of essential content for your next Thank You note.

via Krrb Blog:

“Nothing says thank you like a note written by a 4 year old. But for those who don’t have the monk-like patience it takes to elicit the above pictured type of work from a pre-schooler, there is hope.”

via Krrb: “A card printed on letterpress gives just the right amount of gravitas, but the modern design and bright color of this Tella Press card keeps things light and fun! You can find this card (and more!) on

Writer (and the blog’s editor at large) Brooke Williams goes on to give plentiful advice on producing a fantastic Thank You note, including a breakdown on the “anatomy” of the note’s written content. Specifically:

1. The Greeting (ex: Dear People of France,)
2. The Gratitude (ex: Thank you so much for the arrestingly beautiful Statue of Liberty you sent over to us.)
3. The Proof Of Use (ex: She now stands majestically in New York Harbor, greeting all who come to these shores in hopes of a better life. We really think she’s taken quite nicely to her new home.)
4. The Once And Future Contact (ex: We really appreciated your support of our effort to overthrow those blasted English – can you believe it was 100 years ago already? – and hope that we can stand side by side again should there be any similar conflicts in the future.)
5. The Gratitude (Again) (ex: Thanks again for sending Lady Liberty our way. We can’t imagine the harbor without her.)
6. The Exit (ex: xox The United States)

Such great pointers, and so desperately needed by some! Thanks, Brooke. xox Daily Design Idea.

February 16’s daily design idea is be thoughtful in your Thanks.

February 16, 2012 at 9:58 pm Leave a comment

25 thoughts for changemakers.

About a month ago, I finished reading Social Entrepreneurship: What Everyone Needs to Know by David Bornstein and Susan Davis. It’s a relatively quick, inspiring, optimistic, and still very practical read, so needless to say I highly recommend it.

There are lots of reasons that I keep flipping it back open, but one major reason is a concluding section called “Thoughts for Changemakers.” The section contains a list of 25 suggestions, without any introduction, that anyone striving for change should read:

1. Begin with an end in mind.
2. Do what you do best.
3. Have people ask you questions about your idea.
4. Practice pitching your idea.
5. Study the history of the problem you are attacking.
6. Develop a theory of change.
7. Keep thinking about how you can measure or evaluate success.
8. Celebrate every victory, no matter how small.
9. Initiate new relationships.
10. Apprentice yourself with masters. (Work without pay if necessary.)
11. Volunteer for a political campaign.
12. Publish a letter to the editor or an op-ed.
13. Meet with a newspaper editor and a congressman.
14. Host dinner discussions about your idea.
15. Form a group to achieve a modest, short-term goal.
16. Ask a question at a public forum.
17. Engage people with opposing political views.
18. Ask for advice from people you admire.
19. Read biographies of people who have built things.
20. Spend some time working in a different sector, field, or country.
21. Practice public speaking.
22. Take a finance course.
23. Learn how to negotiate.
24. Find sources of inspiration and use them.
25. Hold to principles, be flexible about methods.

February 11’s daily design idea is almost everyone in a creative field is a changemaker of some kind. Maybe we should be pushing for more diversified education, jobs, and overall expectations.

February 11, 2012 at 1:46 pm 2 comments

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