During May, Ryan Russell, For The Next's founder, spoke on Design Thinking for Social Change at WebVisions 2010. For those not familiar with Design thinking it is simply the approach, skills and practices designers use to solve problems. "You just need to find a situation worth improving and then work through the creative process," says innovation expert Marty Neumeier. This topic is near to our hearts because For The Next was founded with the focus of using design to build a bridge between people and environmental nonprofit organizations, paving the way for individuals to support the reversal of their environmental impact and help improve the planet.

Synopsis of Design Thinking For Social Change

Our world is at a crossroads. We face problems unlike any generation before us. Diminishing natural resources, pollution, and climate change are so complex, so multifaceted, that traditional problem-solving methods yield little success.

As designers we have an opportunity to assist the world in solving the pressing issues of our day. Our unique training in tackling problems using a multidisciplinary human-centered approach (known as design-thinking) is what governments and NGOs around the world desperately need. There are ten potential projects for every design thinker with the time and talent to solve them (Tim Brown, Change By Design).

How does one start down this path? The issues are so vast it may seem hard to find a starting point. Luckily it is not. The journey begins by asking yourself two simple questions: What is my personal design philosophy and what do I believe is the most important issue?

This session discusses how designers can leverage their talents, skills and processes to assist in solving global problems. Attendees will learn how to connect their passion with the issues, and unlock the power of shared vision. Real world examples are be provided to assist viewers in understanding the impact they can have on the world around them.

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