We had the pleasure of interviewing Ralph King, the inspiring and talented filmmaker of Extreme by Design, a documentary film. Design for America has had the exclusive opportunity to pre-screen the film at its studios around the country. The film itself focuses on a team of college students from the Stanford design school and their experiences as they engage in the process of designing products that address huge issues for the world’s poor. Watch the trailer here!
As part of a new series, we hear from DFA students around the country about their thoughts, vision, and passions in life. This one is brought to you by Michael Kulikowski, founder of DFA Virginia Tech.
The topic of Design Activism is something that strongly resonates with me – it is the embodiment of the fusion of my passions: design, sustainability, urbanism, and social innovation. My personal definition of Design Activism is the conscientious effort of utilizing your skills, talents, and knowledge to develop and implement solutions to problems for the benefit of others.
PublicInterestDesign.org is principally a blog about a growing movement at the intersection of design and service. This year, for the first time, they’ve come out with a Top 100 list. Acknowledged alongside folks like Bill Clinton and Brad Pitt, DFA is honored for faculty founder, Liz Gerber and Director of Operations, Sami Nerenberg to be recognized as a top change-maker in the field.
DFA’s Jerry the Bear team was just featured in Inc Magazine. Here, we see experts reviewing and evaluating their pitch and providing useful feedback for helping this team succeed. With some interesting recommendations such as whether or not to have a diversified product or if and when to exit- the article is worth a read, so we are re-posting here!
The Pitch: “We create interactive learning toys for children with chronic illnesses. When kids are diagnosed, their parents are hit with a lot of complex information. Our toys take that information and make it easy for a child to understand. Our first product, Jerry the Bear, a talking robotic teddy bear, is for kids with Type 1 diabetes between ages 3 and 7. He teaches how to recognize when blood glucose levels are too high or too low and the importance of eating a healthy diet. We’ve tested Jerry with more than 150 kids, and they all loved him. We’re in negotiations with medical distributors and pharmaceutical companies to market our products. Next, we plan to develop toys for asthma and childhood obesity. We’re raising funds for our first manufacturing run and additional product testing.”
What happens when you take 25 entrepreneurs from all over the world and have them live and work together in Boulder, Colorado for 6 weeks? You get unreasonable.
These are 25 individuals that saw a social or environmental problem that they simply could not ignore. They also had an unreasonable idea: to create a solution to this prevalent issue that would also be a viable business. These businesses tackled issues such as poverty, lack of access to clean water, women’s independence, waste, energy, or education. These daring individuals have been successful: they are creating profit and they have a growing customer base. But to continue extending their reach and growing, they joined up with the Unreasonable Institute. For six weeks, they lived together, receiving skill training, mentorship, a network of support, access to seed capital, and international exposure. After the first five weeks, they held the Unreasonable Climax.
This just in from DFA Fellow and SwipeSense CEO, Mert Iseri as he gets back from his world travels!
The University of Oregon studio has been working hard since their opening at the beginning of this school year. The first two terms the team members worked together conceptualizing nationwide problems that could use design to create solutions. Many ideas were thrown onto the drawing board, but as April arrived and spring term started here at Oregon two ideas remained active while the others were tucked away for future Oregon DFA members.
DFA’s director of operations, Sami Nerenberg is just finishing up a whirl wind tour across the United States visiting college campuses eager to start a DFA studio. With UC Berkeley being her last stop, let’s check out what she’s been up to.