Design and Social Impact - A Cross-Sectoral Agenda for Design Education, Research and Practice

Design and Social Impact: A Cross-Sectoral Agenda for Design Education, Research and Practice

The Smithsonian's Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum has released the white paper Design and Social Impact: A cross-sectoral agenda for design education, research and practice.

The paper is an outgrowth of the 2012 Social Impact Design Summit at The Rockefeller Foundation, which was hosted by Cooper-Hewitt, The Lemelson Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Surdna Foundation to discuss strategies and actions to advance the field of socially responsible design - one term that refers to the practice of design for the public good, especially in disadvantaged communities.

The five key recommendations set forth by the summit participants in the white paper are:

- Expand networks, as there is much that members of this diverse, global community can learn from one another and from the constituents they serve
- Emphasize storytelling to more effectively communicate social impact design's value and how design can play a significant role in creating social change
- Build a culture of evaluation with better tools to demonstrate the long-term impact of design projects and initiatives
- Form intelligent coalitions with dedicated social impact design programs within universities as well as informal teaching environments, both physical and online
- Create alternative funding strategies to enable innovative and ongoing support

"Cooper-Hewitt is committed to advancing the field of socially responsible design, as demonstrated through our groundbreaking 'Design with the Other 90%' exhibition series and our early establishment of a curatorial position dedicated to the subject," commented Caroline Baumann, acting director of the museum. "It's particularly exciting to work on further development of socially responsible design through the white paper and corresponding public program."

Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum