Designing for Social Innovation

This multi-disciplinary course allows students from a variety of backgrounds to work together to learn about the social and environmental problems in China and how organizations and social enterprises address these problems using the power of business, technology and design. Partnering with outside organizations, students will work in teams to identify a pain-point for a social or environmental problem, and learn the process of developing an idea and following that through to the development of a prototype product.

We will follow the CAT process designed by Frog Design as part of its commitment to social impact, CAT is a set of activities and methods to enable groups of people anywhere to organize, collaborate, and create solutions for problems impacting their community. Partnering organizations include but not limit to Frog Design, OpenIDEO, Nestworks, Aha School of Social Innovation, GoodtoChina, Xinchejian, Transist Impact Lab, Ask Lab and GONGYI XINTIANDI.

Class 1

Intro to course; intro to social innovation; student introductions — student from different majors will talk about their skills and social problems they care about using the CAT.

Class 2

Field trip (GONGYI XINTIANDI) —a Social Innovation Park that brings together social enterprises and NPOs in one physical space and provides support for these organizations to scale their operations.

Class 3

Guest presentation by Leigh-Anne Russell (Founder of Nestworks)

  • Student pitches(social problems); Sign up for social problems you care about.
  • Sign up for Social Innovation Presentation.
  • Assignment for Class 4 — Students will receive their group assignment and contact information for mentor and/or client. Reach out to people in your community and gain their perspective on issues that matter to them. Ask the right kinds of questions and explore how people in your community live their lives. Discover their unmet needs and better inform and inspire your group to help. Meet and prepare as a group for next week’s Design Sprint session.

Class 4

Design Sprint workshop; We will follow the CAT and create new solutions for the problems you want to solve. This activity area will help your group imagine more ideas and then decide what makes some of them more actionable than others. Prepare a 2 minute presentation of your ideas in order to get feedback from your classmates. Some of the best feedback may be a question that triggers you to think in a new direction or to consider something you did not address.

Class 5

Guest presentation by Gu Yuang (Founder of Aha School of Social Innovation)

  • Social Innovation Presentation(s)

Class 6

Rapid prototyping workshop ; You don’t know if an idea will work until you try to make it real. We will follow the CAT and make something real. This activity area will help your group test out ideas in fun ways, such as telling stories or by building a version of it to evaluate. Experiment with a few of these activities and see what your team discovers.

Class 7

Field Trip (Transist Impact Lab)

Class 8

Midterm presentations

Class 9

Guest presentation by Susan Evans(founder of GoodtoChina)

  • Social Innovation Presentation(s)

Class 10

User Testing Night

  • Social Innovation Presentation(s)

Class 11

Guest presentation by Liu Yan(Founder of Ask Lab)

  • Social Innovation Presentation(s)

Class 12

Collaborative Action Workshop: Become organized about what each group member is doing to reach your shared goals. This activity area will help your group generate concrete action items and understand how those actions will help everyone show progress towards those goals.

Class 13

Feedback Night

  • Social Innovation Presentation(s)

Class 14

Final Presentations

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