On September 16-17, one of SVA’s newest graduate programs, the MFA Design for Social Innovation Department, hosted a “Designathon for Corporate Social Responsibility.” The event was aimed at teaching business leaders the role design can play in solving their company’s challenges. Six teams were selected from a pool of 38 corporate applicants and included representatives from Cisco Systems, Arup, World Bank, American Sustainable Business Council, Hub Bay Area and Catchafire.
Cheryl Heller, chair of the MFA Design for Social Innovation Program, and department faculty members Danny Alexander, Tracy Brandenburg, Asi Burak, Lee-Sean Huang, Alesandra Orofino, Mary Pearl, and Marc Rettig served as mentors to each team. In addition to introducing the innovation process, each group worked with their mentor to identity and frame a question that each company wanted to explore. Following a series of brainstorming sessions, teams were left with new ideas and directions on how to approach their challenges in new ways.
Participant Francesca Birks, senior consultant and facilitator for the Foresight Team at Arup New York said, “As a believer in the value of social innovation I am constantly seeking ways to introduce social innovation into the Arup engineering context and this weekend definitely gave me a few more tools and methods to add to my arsenal.”
“All companies recognize the need for innovation,” said Heller. “In addition to serving as an introduction to our department and faculty, the Designathon allowed us to help a few companies we care about.”
Image: Designathon participants photo by Eli Marias.