Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Think-and-make-tank for Soul of Africa

We've had an amazing response to our call for designers to participate in the one day workshop in April. In this 'think-and-make-tank', designers will collaborate with 36 Oxford MBA students and participants from the Soul of Africa organization to help frame and tackle some of the challenges this social enterprise is facing. A few weeks ago I put out a call to designers via emails to colleagues and friends, via blogs and on twitter. Over 75 designers applied, from many different disciplines, many from outside the UK including Finland, France, South Africa and the US. I was only able to pick 12 and that was very hard indeed. Our resources limited us to covering travel expenses in the UK.

From reading through the designers' statements, I have a strong sense that the shift that was already taking place within design education and practice, away from a fascination with highly styled consumer goods to a design practice that is concerned with equity and sustainability, has now changed things permanently. As the Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship opens today in my building at Said Business School in Oxford, it's clear that designers, both students, professionals and educators, want to apply their practice to systemic problems we are all implicated in. One of the challenges is to create opportunities for that to happen.

Further details about the think-and-make-tank will be posted in in the next few weeks. For those interested in creating projects of their own, here are resources that may help through inspiration or more directly.
Social Innovation Camp
The RSA Design Directions Awards
Audi Design Foundation

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