ryan.hubbard@ac4d.com

Alumni

Ryan Hubbard

Ryan is a people-centered problem solver, with a penchant for pioneering institutions. He received his degree in Systems Engineering as part of the 3rd class at Olin College in Boston, worked on the product team for a web startup in London, and helped Ashoka pilot a program to accelerate social innovation in cities. He spends a lot of time falling off rocks and is constantly reminding himself to talk to strangers, since that always seems to lead to the best adventures.

He wants you to know that he just finished a chocolate milkshake, and it was delicious.

As a society our problems are vast, and we find our institutions lacking. Our corporations lack soul, our governments lack nerve, and our NGOs lack strength. But I’m optimistic. I sincerely believe the tools of design and social entrepreneurship can help us create new models that meld the passionate hearts of NGOs with the bold effectiveness of corporations.

Perhaps most importantly, these new models are not idealistic, unwanted dreams shouted in a distant, echoing corner of the far left. For in this endeavor, we have human nature firmly on our side. Our culture, and especially our youth, are asking for more from employers and from society than financial security and white picket fences. In greater numbers than ever before, they are asking for meaning, they are calling for purpose. I do not yet know how to answer that call, but I know that we can and that we must, and the Austin Center for Design sounds like a good opening line in a long, measured response.

 

Recent blog posts

Tell us about your projects using design to tackle social problems

As you know, at the Austin Center for Design we’re focused on learning how to apply the tools and processes of interaction design to wicked social problems like homelessness, education, social isolation, or international development. Most of this blog is about our projects, but we’d love to hear about yours.  If you’ve worked on anything…

Being Empathetically Correct

I was explaining our work with Frontsteps to a good friend of mine last night, and I used the phrase ‘people experiencing homelessness’ to describe the clients at Frontsteps.  Curious, he asked me if that was the politically correct term for homeless people.  I couldn’t put my finger on it at the time, but it…

Evaluating design solutions and the Perils of Introspection

So convenient a thing it is to be a reasonable creature, since it enables one to make a reason for everything one has a mind to do.” – Ben Franklin In the 1930’s a researcher named Norman Maier [1] conducted a curious psychological experiment.  He brought people into a room with two long ropes hanging…

Notes from Class: History of Interaction Design

Goals this semester include being more visual and getting things out of my head and onto the internet. In the spirit of that, here are some of my notes from our class discussion last night in Jon Freach’s Theory of Interaction Design Course. See and download the full gallery on posterous Posted from Ryan’s personal blog,…

Following the Money

When choosing the focus for our design research, Julia and I were torn between a client service like transitional housing or looking behind the scenes at the less sexy but ever important process of raising money for the organization.  Ultimately, focusing on fundraising seemed further out of our comfort zones as designers (which, after all,…

4 Social Innovation Fellowships now accepting applications

One of the most important factors for success in any field is the strength of your professional community, and the social sector is no exception.  Fellowships are a great way to instantly connect to world-class communities, and four of the best social innovation fellowships available are currently accepting applications.  Take a look: StartingBloc StartingBloc is…

Learning by Doing: Ready to Rumble

I’m a firm believer in the hands-on, sink-or-swim philosophy of learning.  Which puts me in pretty good company with the rest of these loons who decided to join the first year of a crazy new design school. My experience at AC4D so far has fit this preference of mine very well, but this weekend should…

Starting to think about the boys on the row

As you you may have heard, our class has selected the Austin Resource Center for the Homeless (ARCH) as our client for the research next quarter. Tonight, we started our brainstorming process, and I was reminded a Bukowski poem:

Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain part 2

This is the second exercise I performed from the Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain Book.  I was excited to hear today that Saranyan bought the book on his Kindle and is joining in the fun. The exercise for today took only about fifteen minutes and you could do yourself quite easily, as…

Learning to Draw, a Student’s Perspective

Alex’s post was perfectly timed, since today was the start of a series of drawing exercises I’m working through from Betty Edward’s well-known Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain.  I heard about the methodology from reading Daniel Pink’s A Whole New Mind.  He took the 5 day course in person (I’m settling for…

My Favorite Design Process Visualization

Every design firm (and many individual designers) have their own version of  “The Design Process Graphic.”  Jon showed his yesterday in our first class, and Laura walked through hers today during our second.  I thought I’d add to the conversation and share my personal favorite process graphic, the Design Squiggle that’s used by the California-based…

Can we design a society without the Taliban?

As Scott mentioned in his post, part of the focus of class today was consumerism, and design’s role in shaping it.  The discussion reminded me of a fascinating and controversial statement I heard recently regarding the role of consumerism and Western culture in creating an environment that encourages radicals and fundamentalism. I was listening to…

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