Design that Matters’ innovative approach and designs transform the social sector and flip traditional notions of design services on their head
By World Bank estimates, two-thirds of the world population lives on less than $2 per day. These communities lack access to such basic necessities as clean water, affordable health care and basic education. In order for these individuals to improve their quality of life—through productive work, community organization and political participation—they must receive more than direct charity and aid. The poor must be given the tools and opportunities to improve themselves, their families and their communities. This is the issue that social enterprise addresses in serving those at the “bottom of the pyramid.” Social entrepreneurs are change agents for the social sector. Social enterprises are usually more effective in addressing root causes than are supranational NGOs because they are better integrated into the societies they serve, and know the specific needs of their beneficiaries, but they lack access to well-matched design services that can help them improve their services and scale.
Designers are looking for ways to make a positive impact. A 2012 Designer’s Accord blog notes, “there has been an unprecedented surge of interest in the field of design for social impact, or as it has become known – social design. Designers are looking for ways in which to incorporate more meaningful social change work into their practices.” In this tight economy, companies are increasingly transforming into virtual organizations, creating a mass of self-employed contractors that are looking for meaningful work.