AIGA Design for Social Value Conference

October 9-10, 2012

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco

Register Now!


Begin planning your “Gain” conference experience.

Designers do more than just make pretty things.

Learn about the key role designers play in creating social value at “Gain”—two days jam packed with professional development workshops, roundtables, innovative speakers and plenty of networking opportunities. Increase your knowledge, get inspired, make connections and more—register now!

Below is a general outline of the “Gain” program schedule. The full conference program will be available at the registration desk on-site. Speakers are added to the roster regularly so check back soon for more.

Tuesday, October 9
Registration opens
Professional development workshops (choose one activity per time slot to attend; additional registration and fee may be required):
Successful Grant Writing and Fundraising with Shoshanah Goldberg-Miller, Ph.D., management consultant
Negotiating and Contracting for Pro Bono Jobs with Linda Joy Kattwinkel, Esq., Owen, Wickersham & Erickson; and Shel Perkins, management advisor, Shel Perkins & Associates
Professional development workshops and Industry roundtables (choose one activity per time slot to attend; additional registration and fee may be required):
Recent Changes in Marketing Your Firm with David C. Baker, president, ReCourses, Inc.
Implementing Social Change with Andréa Pellegrino, president, Pellegrino Collaborative; and Robert Sedlack, associate professor of design, University of Notre Dame
Industry roundtables, presented by Aquent
Opening general session:
Robert Fabricant, vice president of creative, frog

The Value Equation

What do we mean by "value" in both a business and social context? How has design established credibility with the business community as a driver of value? Can we align around a more consistent model for communicating value to key business constituencies? What can we apply from our experience within the commercial sector—applying it to the challenge of creating social value? And, what are we learning from the social sector that is leading us to reconsider our definition of the value of design? This talk will attempt to set the tone for the conference by looking at different dimensions of the “value equation” for design. Robert Fabricant will draw from his personal experience at frog, working with partners like GE and UNICEF to explore different notions of value within design.
Banny Banerjee, director, Stanford ChangeLabs

Design of Transformations

We are moving from an experience economy to a transformation economy. The design field is in the midst of one of the biggest revolutions in its history, and design is being leveraged in completely new ways. As the field undergoes a huge upheaval, it opens up new questions for those within various design disciplines and those who might be in a position to use designers in new ways. Banny Banerjee will explore the larger transformations taking place in the field, as well as some of the implications and questions that arise as we enter a future marked by turbulence and grand challenges.
Denise Korn, founder, Youth Design, and principal, Korn Design

Youth Design: Rally for Change

Youth Design is a unique model for change, one based purely on the belief that every student with passion, talent and drive deserves the opportunity to transform their untapped creative potential into a college education and a promising career. Youth Design engages world-class design professionals, who share their skills and perspectives through sustained, one-on-one paid mentoring relationships with Youth Designers. Learn how Youth Design is changing lives and how you can get involved.
Emily Pilloton, founder and executive director, Project H Design

Tell Them I Built This

In rural Bertie County, North Carolina, high school students in a design/build class called Studio H learned hands-on building skills and transformed their town. In her presentation, designer and Project H Design founder Emily Pilloton will tell the story of the vision behind Studio H and the two years she spent teaching it. The story is an inspiring example of how public education and communities can be transformed through design-based education and youth-led public architecture—in Bertie County, the Bay Area and everywhere in between.
Opening night reception

During the opening night reception, check out the winners of the “Occupy: What’s Next?” poster competition. The posters address the concerns of the “99 percent,” engage the “one percent” to promote constructive dialogue, and propose ideas that can enrich and improve life for everyone. The competition and exhibition were curated by Erik Adigard, Jean Benoit and David Peters.
Wednesday, October 10
Continental breakfast; roundtables
General session:
Justin Ahrens, principal, Rule29

Experience Wonder. Do Different.

As creatives, we don’t see the world like everybody else. We are built to see it differently. Most of us have a passion to infuse our work with good, changing it for the better—but how do we actually accomplish this? Justin Ahrens explores how wonder can be a transforming catalyst for you and your team to do more in your community and beyond.
Patrice Martin, co-lead and creative director,

Insight, Intuition and Inspiration: Design Driven Innovation in the Social Sector

Join Patrice Martin, co-lead and creative director of, a new nonprofit launched by IDEO, for a conversation on the intersection of design and poverty-related challenges. She'll share experiences and learnings from's first year of work, and show how extreme constraints have led to both new solutions and new ways of working. Martin will discuss the role of insight, inspiration and intuition in designing for low-income communities, reflecting on successes, failures and new questions that have emerged from applying design to the challenges of poverty. Martin will also highlight what is learning from partnering directly with nonprofits, social enterprises and foundations.
Doug Powell, president, AIGA, and creative director, Schwartz Powell

Design for Good

Design for Good is a platform to build and sustain the implementation of design thinking for social change, supporting and sustaining designers who play a catalytic role in communities through projects that create positive social impact. Learn how to join the growing team of organizations, schools, programs and training opportunities—get engaged and involved!
Gaby Brink, founder and chief designer, Tomorrow and Tomorrow Labs, and founder and CEO, Sparkwise

Innovating for the Social Impact Economy

What is design’s role in the social impact economy? Today, partnerships between foundations and their grantees are more collaborative and more strategic than ever. Funders look to drive large-scale change by advancing innovation in the work of the organizations they support. They also face increasing pressure to demonstrate the impact of their investments. Learn about Tomorrow Partners’ new models for bringing global changemakers into the innovation process—and why Tomorrow launched Sparkwise, a web-based data platform that consolidates, aggregates and makes accessible all sorts of impact metrics to inform and ignite communities.
Refreshment break
General session:
Rich Hollant, principal and design director, co:lab

The Art of MORE

Social value work is changing fast. Organizations, programs and ideas are competing for a diminishing pool of funds while programmatic responsibilities have increased in response to heightened demands for support and services. Rich Hollant, principal at co:lab, will share some of the community initiatives that the studio has been developing over the past few years along with his point of view on what the pursuit of “more” can achieve. Through the challenges and successes of these efforts, he'll talk about breaking through inertia, empowering collaboration, setting achievable goals and shifting the role of design from informing “what is” to provoking “what's next.”
David Erickson, manager, Center for Community Development Investments, The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco
Presented by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Design, Community Development and Improving the Life Chances of Low-Income People

David Erickson is leading the collaboration between the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, bridging health with community development. Learn how design, development and the social determinants of health can benefit the physical, financial and economic well-being of low- income communities.
Lunch (on your own)
General session:
Leslie Ziegler, chief evangelist, Rock Health

Can Designers and Developers Save Healthcare?

Healthcare costs are rising, projected to be over 20% of GDP by 2021. As the system is forced to change, who will be the driving forces behind its transformation? Rock Health is a nonprofit foundation and an engine for social enterprise, fueling the next generation of health entrepreneurs through a startup accelerator, open-source research and public events. Leslie Ziegler, Rock Health’s chief evangelist, will talk about the disruption that entrepreneurs, designers and developers are creating to provide new solutions in what has traditionally been a very challenging space for innovation.
Drew Davies, founder and design director, Oxide Design Co.

Design for Democracy

Independent, pragmatic and committed to the public good, Design for Democracy collaborates with researchers, designers and policy makers in service of public sector clients and AIGA’s goal of “demonstrating the value of design by doing valuable things.” Learn how you can get involved: Increase civic participation and help make interactions between the U.S. government and its citizens more understandable, efficient and trustworthy.
Ravi Naidoo, founder and managing director, Interactive Africa and Design Indaba

Creativity is Capital

In a resource-constrained 21st century, it is obvious that the world doesn’t need another chair. The world needs designers who will move beyond aesthetics—out of the silo and onto the street. Design Indaba, based in Cape Town, South Africa, is committed to the vision that creativity can help solve society’s most pressing issues. Your Street Challenge, one of Design Indaba’s most recent initiatives, invites creative plans to improve aspects of a city’s street life through the power of design.
Phil Hamlett, director, School of Graduate Graphic Design, Academy of Art University

Living Principles for Design

The Living Principles for Design aim to guide purposeful action, celebrating and popularizing the efforts of those who use design thinking to create positive cultural change. Learn how you can co-create, share and showcase best practices, tools, stories and ideas for enabling sustainable action across all design disciplines.
Debbie Aung Din and Jim Taylor, founders, Proximity Designs

Designing for Social Value in Difficult Countries

Debbie Aung Din and Jim Taylor are co-founders of Proximity Designs, a social venture that designs, makes and markets affordable products and services for rural families in one of the world’s poorest countries: Myanmar. Over the past nine years Proximity has sold more than 180,000 products and services and has directly improved the incomes of over 2.5 million rural people. Learn how design is being done in an environment with extreme constraints. With more than 20 years’ experience living in the developing world, Aung Din and Taylor will share their practical experience of creating a design lab in Myanmar and applying user-centered design methods on the ground in the creation of life-changing products and services. They will also show how Proximity is using design methods in their research and advocacy of national policies with the new government of Myanmar, exploring how the deep knowledge and design work for rural customers can converge with the design of macroeconomic policies to create social value on a national scale.
Refreshment break
General session:
Susana Rodriguez de Tembleque, executive creative director, SYPartners

Embracing the “And”

At SYPartners, Susana Rodriguez de Tembleque leads a team of designers to envision and bring to life transformational ideas for some of the world’s most iconic companies. Using the example of IBM’s THINK, an award-winning public exhibition that inspired thousands of visitors to help articulate a vision for a better world, Rodriguez de Tembleque will make a case for designers to step up as change agents who lead transformation—thinkers and doers who bring creativity, curiosity, aspiration and craft to their work.
Christopher Simmons, principal, MINE

Problem Seeking

Most of us have been taught that design is about problem solving. The problem with that view is that it places design at the end of the process rather than the beginning. It puts the responsibility for finding, defining and framing the problem in someone else’s hands and simply asks the designer to respond. But the amazing thing about designers is that we’re trained to look and see differently. The skills that make us good problem-solvers make us even better problem-seekers. The methodologies that make us effective communicators can also make us conversation-starters. So how do we start? Where do we go from here? Why are we waiting for permission?
Maria Giudice, CEO and founder, Hot Studio

Innovation Starts at the Top: The Role of the DEO in Solving World Changing Problems

A DEO, or design executive officer, is a combination of strategic business executive and creative problem-solver. They see themselves as catalysts for transformation and agents of cultural change. The DEO looks at business problems as design problems, solvable through the right mix of imagination and metrics. Designers have moved from being seen as makers of artifacts to being perceived as central players in innovative organizations. Creatives, now is your time to reshape the future and help make an impact at a global scale!
Christi Zuber, director, Innovation Consultancy, Kaiser Permanente

Putting the Care into Health Care Designs

Christi Zuber, director of the Innovation Consultancy at Kaiser Permanente, will discuss how her small team of innovators introduced human-centered design to an organization of more than 172,000 employees, which provides health care across eight regions and the District Columbia. Starting in partnership with IDEO, the team observed industries outside health care and adapted their methodologies to begin small pilots and tests of change within the context of the larger organization. She will use real-life examples, including some that are now considered industry best practices, to illustrate the challenges and opportunities of this unique work, and discuss the evolution toward integrating innovative design processes into the fabric of the entire organization.
Joshua To, partner, Hattery, and founder, BRUTE LABS

Changing the Way Businesses and Organizations are Built

Hattery is a seed-stage venture firm located in San Francisco and New York with a full-time team of domain and technology experts who make up Hattery Labs. Joshua To will discuss how Hattery—through collaboration, partnership and work with domain experts—is helping its companies build innovative products with high social impact and rapid growth.
Sachi DeCou, co-founder, juabar

From Insights to Implementation: Codesigning Solar Mobile Charging Stations in East Africa

How do solar energy, connectivity and local entrepreneurs become a sustainable solution to off-grid energy needs? Juabar is a story of the design process from insight to ideation to implementation. Learn how a codesigned project born out of the work of an interdisciplinary body of researchers, designers and social entrepreneurs from CCA’s MBA in Design Strategy program—in direct collaboration with partners in Tanzania—has produced solar-powered mobile phone charging stations and an economic development opportunity for local entrepreneurs.
Jordan Clare-Rothe, founder, Image Engine, and designer, Clare-Rothe Design

Image Engine: Visual Supports for Children with Autism

Children with autism often struggle with auditory learning. Visual learning supports—sets of pictures that communicate objects, tasks, activities and schedules—have become important tools for teachers and parents in communicating with children with autism. However, many current image sets do not fully meet their needs, and many teachers and parents end up illustrating their own pictures. Through a web and mobile platform, Image Engine takes a design approach to improving visual supports, enabling teachers and parents to use and upload their own quality images. An entire community’s efforts are combined, allowing teachers and parents to give children with autism their best shot at learning the skills they need to thrive.
Cheryl Heller, principal, Heller Communication Design, and chair, MFA Design for Social Innovation, SVA

Social Innovation, Leadership, Entrepreneurship for Designers

Learn how to keep the momentum going and integrate social innovation and leadership into your everyday practice. Cheryl Heller will introduce an exciting new AIGA program for designers who want to be good leaders—and leaders of good. Engage in conversations with corporate executives, participate in interactive workshops on leadership and entrepreneurship, and network with your next partners and clients. This is a story about what we tried, what worked and what we’ve learned. We’re ready to come to your town if you're ready for us!