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Social Entrepreneurship hand-in-hand with Design

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A recent FastCompany article (8 Lessons for Creating Social Impact by Robert Fabricant – Tue May 4, 2010) highlights the question:

Have “design thinking” and “social innovation” become permanently intertwined?

Fabricant thinks so, according to the book Change by Design: How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations and Inspires Innovation by Tim Brown (which is now on my reading list).

Following are (in brief) Fabricant’s lessons learned for creating social impact:

1. Undervalue Your Own Ideas.

2. Don’t Pursue Perfection.

3. You Are Not the Only Creative in the Room.

4. Your Perspective Is Not Automatically Unique.

5. Learn From Your Elders.

6. The Web Will Not Save You.

7. You Better Be In It for the Long Haul.

8. Don’t Celebrate Too Early.

One of my favorite statements from this article is:

Ideation is just the beginning. Ideas are cheap. The determination and stubbornness to see them through is critical.

At one point, Fabricant states: “Unfortunately, designers tend to fall prey to ideas that are too attractive and we don’t generally have the patience for the lengthy process to see initiatives through to the point of meaningful results (particularly if those results run counter to our attractive ideas).”

That’s their skill, that’s their strength, it’s how they are wired.  Isn’t the better answer for the designer to partner so that they can continue to pursue the innovative next thing?  If they aren’t able to do that, they become unengaged, dis-satisfied, and no longer productive!  It may not be the designer that has the determination and stubbornness, but they must partner to find it in order to have the impact they desire.

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