Policy Design: Creating Value, Getting Results

Next week’s Speaker Series features Leah Bojo speaking about “Policy Design: Creating Value, Getting Results”.

Leah, policy aide to Council Member Chris Riley, spends a lot of time thinking about how to implement innovative solutions around issues such as transportation, land-use and public space. By explaining the mechanisms by which the City of Austin governs itself, she is going to elucidate why some technology platforms thrive in Austin and why, for example, the car sharing service Uber remains prohibited by law.

Come learn about the City of Austin’s Comprehensive Plan, the “Vision” and the “Code”. Walk away with a better understanding of how to influence local policy to support and implement the innovations you think will make the city a better place to live.

Wednesday, April 9th. 6pm. Tickets are available here.

 

AC4D Alumni at SXSWedu

Jonathan Lewis and Diana Griffin – alumni from AC4D – presented on a panel at SXSW. The panel, called Frameworks for Modern-Day Apprenticeships, was facilitated by Jonathan and featured Diana’s work at Girls Guild. Read more here – congrats, Jonathan & Diana!

Design for Impact Bootcamp – Dates Announced

We’re pleased to announce the dates and availability for the AC4D Design for Impact Bootcamp: March 8th, and March 23rd. Now in our fifth year, this event introduces the ideas and methods we teach at AC4D, in a single (but intense) day of workshops. We sell out each year, so if you are interested in learning more about our program and method, please join us!

Visit http://ac4d.com/bootcamp/ for more information and to sign up; hope to see you there.

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Quarter Two in Review: Research into Wicked Problems

On Saturday, December 21st, students at Austin Center for Design presented the results of their 8-week research inquiry into a large, systemic social problem. Students explored topics like disaster relief, teenage pregnancy, health records, and gender identity and safety, and presented their work in an open forum to the Austin community. You can learn more about their progress below.

James Lewis, Meghan Corbett and Anna Krachey have been doing design research around pregnancy and child birth decisions. Their research led them to speak with expectant mothers, public health workers, doulas, and social workers, and they identified three core insights that can drive their further ideation and exploration. One of their insights was “taking care of a baby gives teen moms a sense of purpose and motivates them to take care of themselves.” This idea then led to the idea of “Daddy Doula” – a service that would help “fathers become more informed of the physical and emotional challenges of birth that their partner endures and learn how they can best support and assist them during labor. Teen fathers would then be empowered to take an active, supportive role in the birth of their child.” You can learn more about this idea – and others from this team – here.

Chelsea Hostetter and Alex Wykoff have been investigating the process of gender identity, and safety, for those going through gender variant transitions. Their research has identified heart-breaking stories – and opportunity for design-led change – and as a result of their synthesis process, the team developed over 300 divergent ideas of ways to help a community in need.

One of their ideas – Pickle – is “underwear exclusively for trans-men”, while another – Find a Family – is “a location-based app that allows open-minded families and individuals who have an extra seat at the table for holidays to invite others to participate in their holiday. The app connects people based on their location and interests, and facilitates a conversation that develops into a connection over the holidays.” You can learn more about their process here.

Kurt Hanley is exploring how a city, and community, responds to a disaster to provide relief and support. During his exploration, Kurt engaged with the Red Cross, with first responders, and with those who have been displaced by the recent floods in Onion Creek. He identified a number of socioeconomic inequalities and inefficiencies, and has begun to develop a hypothesis about how to better support those in need. You can read more about this hypothesis – often called a theory of change – in his recent post, here.

Scott Gerlach, Bhavini Patel, and Jacob Rader have been immersed in the chaos that is our health record system. The team spent time with hospitals and clinics, with health providers and the recipients of care, and with the impoverished and homeless; they acquired an understanding of the challenges faced by the healthcare system, and gained empathy with the various constituents in this complex system. Through sensemaking, the team arrived at a place advocating for holistic care and patient control, and will then carry this idea framework forward during ideation and design development. You can learn more about their work here.

Next quarter, these students will further ideate and begin to iteratively develop systems, products, and services that can offer social and cultural value.

Social Innovation and Design Education: Event 1 Recap

AC4D’s inaugural speaker series kicked off last night with a thought-provoking conversation on why our Education System is broken and most importantly, what we can do about it.

Jon Kolko, the founder and director of AC4D, framed the series by talking about the shortcomings of traditional higher learning and why it is no longer working for a large majority of people. After discussing graduation rates, costs of education, the fading demand for a formal degree and the rise of a skills-based hiring approach, he introduced the next challenge for a new kind of education: that of small-scale programs of specialization.

Stay tuned for the video from the event soon. The series continues December 11, 2013 with Kyle Bunch, Group Director of RGA. Tickets here!

Photo credit: Jacob Rader

Welcome New Professor Kijana Knight

Austin Center for Design is pleased to announce that Kijana Knight will be joining the faculty. Kijana is a Principal Design Researcher at projekt202, where she works with clients ranging from Samsung to Pepsi to understand the impact that new technologies have on human behavior in physical as well as digital environments.

Welcome, Kijana!

AC4D's commitment to low-cost education featured in Fast Company

Austin Center for Design was featured in Fast Company’s recent article, “The $10,000 Design Degree: How to build a design portfolio without breaking the bank.” The article, part of a series on affordable education, highlights our commitment to low-cost, high-quality learning, and makes reference to the success of some of our student companies (like Girls Guild). The article describes how students at AC4D “…learn in small groups from passionate teachers with a holistic vision of design.”

You can read the article here, and read more about our commitment to low-cost education here.

AC4D to Participate in LEAP Symposium

Austin Center for Design will participate in next week’s LEAP Symposium, an event that “brings together 100 national thought leaders, educators, designers and practitioners from business, international development and social enterprise at Art Center College of Design to address one central issue: the emerging career pathways for designers in the social innovation space.” We look forward to learning from our friends and colleagues at the event.