An Initiative of the International Youth Foundation

YouthActionNet Blog

Social Design Webinar Series

Lisa Jones | August 27, 2014

Can designers make a difference? Increasingly, designers are taking prominent roles in the creation of initiatives for solving social issues.

In a recent two-part YouthActionNet webinar series, participants discovered the emerging field of social design and learned strategies to implement a human-centered, collaborative approach to creating innovative social change solutions. Special guest presenters Mira Azarm and Jonathan Erwin from the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA)'s masters degree program in social design (MASD) and YouthActionNet Fellow Jessica Lax, co-founder and director of the School for Change, offered keen insight and practical solutions for leaders looking to be more strategic in how they design and implement social change solutions.

In the first session, Social Design: Grounding Solutions in the Creative Process, Mira and Jonathan highlighted seven key principles of the emerging field of social design and provided a case study to illustrate how social design can be leveraged to generate social impact in the real world. For those new to the concept of social design, viewing this webinar is a great place to learn the basics and hear responses to some frequently asked questions such as: "Can I begin social design at any stage of my project, or does it have to be done in the beginning?" View the entire webinar session here.

In the second session, Social Design: Tools for Change, Mira and Jonathan introduced a network mapping toolkit. They provided step-by-step instructions on how to utilize this social design resource to help leaders evaluate their existing networks and build the necessary community of support to ensure the long-term success of their venture. In addition, YouthActionNet Fellow Jessica Lax joined the webinar to explain how she used social design processes and tools to develop her newest initiative, School for Change. View the entire webinar session here. Then, put what you have learned into practice—download the Tools for Change workbook, kindly provided by MICA Social Design.

Whether you are a designer hoping to use your skills for social good or a change maker looking to increase the impact and sustainability of your work, the social design process can help you develop a mindset that is both systematic and creative. Get started by learning the seven core principles of social design in the webinar clip below.

Photo credit: MICA Social Design, Artwork: Remy Peritz