The opportunities in an Economic Downturn for Designers

I keep hearing of people being laid off – Designers are losing their jobs in the current downturn. So what do they do. I have a few ideas for things you can do as you wait for the economy to turn around:

1. Go back to uni and do a Masters degree. So you get to skill up, retrain, have fun and wait out the downturn.

2. Start a social innovation venture. I have a few ideas for this and have been talking to colleagues about doing a series of workshops to help interested people to get a venture up and running.

3. Start a Blog and write in your free time. In this way you can develop a byline and an online portfolio of thoughts – which will be useful when you go looking for work in time.

4. Do blue sky projects and post them online.

5. Retrain as a Social Innovator, Interaction Designer or Service Designer.

6. Become A Green Loans Home Sustainability Assessor. Follow this link to see more.

Now if any of these ideas appeal to you do comment and we can start a conversation.

Economic Downturn Boosts Work at Home Opportunities – Web Design Melbourne

Work at home opportunities or home based businesses will soar over the next few years. This is not just because people will have to work from home because they have been laid off – had to retire- or feel uncertain about the future. It is because this is the economic trend.

Design School Vision

I finally started writing – the tool kit for a new School of Design. A tool kit because a vision is so self aggarandising. Tool kit is so much more participative. For now the tool kit has three parts – a way to do a take on design.

1. The Agenda – which in this case is a social agenda. As against a technological agenda. A  social agenda where design is a community engagement discourse. The BOP is one core context of practice – and ‘for the marginalised’ is the defining focus.

2. The Approach – which in this case is porous to allow in local practices of engagement. PRA re Chambers being one of them. I add to this a version of design process which is designed for long and slow projects. Design then is fundamentally not an expert discourse (with a quick fix and get away strategy) but a community involvement discourse. I situate a critique of the ‘Technology for the marginalised’ as a key way to think of the approach.

3. The Artefact – which is a way to define profesional specializations. For now I have ‘social innovation’ and ‘social enterpreneurhsip’. Then I have service design. The big question is how much of the conventional courses can one let in – and will they be a contaminant. Industrial design will eventually become egaged in the making of the sofa!

Will leave ths for a bit.

KICKING GOALS – CHANGING LIVES: Discussions about homelessness, poverty, social entrepreneurship and making a change

Series Venue:  BMW Edge at Federation Square, Melbourne
Series Moderator:  Ms Tracee Hutchison, a writer, broadcaster, reporter for
ABC TV’s 7.30 Report and Saturday Age Opinion columnist.

Wednesday 3 December – Kicking Goals – Changing Lives
A discussion with young people about street soccer, crime, homelessness,
poverty, achievement against the odds and how young people can make a
difference in the world. Before the matches kick off, come along and hear
how the next generation are changing the world for the better.
Mr Dan Adams – Make Poverty History and The Oaktree Foundation (age 21
Mr Emmanuel Bismyf– Child soldier from Sierra Leone, former Australian
Street Socceroo and Reach Ambassador (age 19 years)
Mr Tom Hurley – Yr 10 student who volunteers to teach young African children
English (age 16 years)
Ms Sarah McLardy – Yr 11 student, Reach Ambassador, Board Member of the Mali
Initiative (age 17 years)
Time & Date: 10.00am to 11.00am, Wednesday 3rd December 2008 – plan to
arrive by 9.45am

2 Thursday 4 December – Changing lives through social entrepreneurship: the
challenges and achievements
How do change-makers, community and business leaders make a difference to
homelessness and poverty and deal with the many challenges including the
impact of the global financial crisis?
Ms Moira Rayner – Consultant and former Victorian Equal Opportunity
Commissioner, Melbourne
Mr Phil Ruthven – IBISWorld Executive Chairman, Melbourne
Ms Jane Tewson CBE – Founder and Director Pilotlight Australia
Mr Mel Young – Co Founder, Homeless World Cup, Scotland
Time & Date: 6.00pm to 7.30pm Thursday 4th December 2008 – entry from 5.30pm

Friday 5 December – Women kicking goals around the world
Committed women from Australia and overseas share their stories,
experiences, visions and skills related to the concerns of poverty and
social disadvantage.
Aretha Briggs – Youth Justice Worker, Anglicare and traditional land owner
of the Yorta Yorta lands of Ulupna and Woiwurrung lands of Wonga territory
Wurrundjerri-ballak, Melbourne
Ms Cindy Coltman – Program Director Women Win, Amsterdam
Ms Anne Hooker – Youth Development Officer, Port Phillip Prison, Melbourne
Ms Jan Owen AM – Executive Director Social Ventures Australia, Melbourne
Time & Date: 12.30 pm to 1.30pm Friday 5th December 2008 entry from 12.00pm

Obama White House Wishlist: ‘Office of Social Entrepreneurship’

Social Entrepreneurship – Obama White House Wishlist: ‘Office of Social Entrepreneurship’

The Chronicle of Philanthropy reported yesterday that influential progressive think tanks New Democracy Fund and the Center for American Progress are advocating for the creation of a White House Office for Social Entrepreneurship.

While Obama had advocated for a Social Entrepreneurship Agency on the campaign trail, his stated proposal would have it in the Corporation for National and Community Service. A White House placement could signal that nonprofits and social enterprises will have a more important role partnering to enact change than in the past.

The proposals also articulate several ideas for promoting social entrepreneurship and nonprofit action, including creating funding programs that reward innovation, tax incentives for partnerships between nonprofits and businesses, new development aid that better mirrors the private sector investment model of the Acumen Fund.

All of these things would be incredible, and are high on my White House wishlist, but when it comes to government, the emphasis has to be on building a sustainable infrastructure for social innovation.

Enabled by Design now a ‘dot org’ social start up

enabled by design

As of today, we are officially a ‘dot org’ social start up!

Marking an important new chapter in the Enabled by Design story, today sees the launch of the Innovation Exchange’s Next Practice programme. EbD and 13 other third sector innovation projects have been chosen to work with the Innovation Exchange and develop our work, taking them on to the next level. Sat within the Independent Living half of the programme, Innovation Exchange will provide us with business coaching and access to related networks, some tailored support around our needs as a business, and also a helping hand with some seed investment through NESTA’s Innovation Exchange Fund.

We’re extremely excited to be given a helping hand to move things on to the next level. Its hard to believe its only just over 7 months now since we took part in (and won!) the first ever Social Innovation Camp – but equally amazing is how much you can fit into a short space of time. Since the Camp, we’ve been awarded level 1 funding from UnLtd which has allowed us to work with cutting edge organisations such as Headshift (social software) and ThinkPublic (user involvement) to really focus on getting users to engage with the project. We’ve also spent a lot of time building relationships with key organisations as well as individuals, developed our branding, and more recently even formally established EbD as a company.

Social Entrepreneurship Defined

Social Entrepreneurship Defined | Social Velocity

Because social innovation is such a new field, terms are still being defined. At times terms are used interchangeably when in reality they have very different meanings. Academics and thought leaders are still hammering out final definitions, but in the interim a common language is beginning to emerge. In an on-going series, I’d like to explain and expand on different terms within the social innovation space. Today I will start with Social Entrepreneurship.

In their ground-breaking 2007 article, “Social Entrepreneurship: The Case for Definition,” two leaders in the field, Roger L. Martin & Sally Osberg, define social entrepreneurs as having three necessary components:

(1) identifying a stable but inherently unjust equilibrium that causes the exclusion, marginalization, or suffering of a segment of humanity that lacks the financial means or political clout to achieve any transformative benefit on its own; (2) identifying an opportunity in this unjust equilibrium, developing a social value proposition, and bringing to bear inspiration, creativity, direct action, courage, and fortitude, thereby challenging the stable state’s hegemony; and (3) forging a new, stable equilibrium that releases trapped potential or alleviates the suffering of the targeted group, and through imitation and the creation of a stable ecosystem around the new equilibrium ensuring a better future for the targeted group and even society at large.

(click here to read more)

Hawkens new book

Blessed Unrest

Blessed Unrest is exciting, compelling, and very important. It describes the growing unrest that I encounter around the world, the frustration and courage of those who dare to challenge the power of the political corporate world. Paul Hawken states eloquently all that I believe so passionately to be true – that there is inherent goodness at the heart of our humanity, that collectively we can – and are – changing the world. Please read and share Blessed Unrest, a celebration of the awakening of the human spirit. It will inspire and encourage millions more to take action.

-Jane Goodall, UN Ambassador for Peace

Paul Hawken speaks at Bioneers 2006