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A politician, methodologist, and rocket scientist enter the chat...

Updated: Mar 12, 2021

Our Story

The effort started when Natalia, an elected official and policymaker, sought a mid-career pivot in the social impact sector. She came across human-centered design and design thinking via online research and a blog post from the Moving Worlds Institute. Though lacking a formal design background, she realized she had been unwittingly practicing some of the concepts. She was intrigued and interested in learning more formal practice but struggled to understand the design landscape. To make sense of the dizzying number of companies, public agencies, and myriad claims of social impact and philanthropy, she began organizing and compiling a list of design thinking organizations focused on social good.

It was just after the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic that Mike Hepler, a recent PhD working on the verification of peaceful nuclear disarmament treaties, was also seeking to make a transition to the intersection of development initiatives, emerging technology, and the support of community resilience in the face of global security challenges. He connected with Natalia through the Moving Worlds Institute alumni network, and together, decided to take her work beyond the spreadsheet. Together, they began designing a website to make it a living, searchable, and user-friendly tool that should be shared with others seeking to enter the world of design thinking and bring into one place organizations focused on social impact.

Joelle Atallah, a disruptive design thinking professional from Beirut and a Moving Worlds Institute alumni then joined the project and with her spirit of question and wonder, the group began asking how these tools could be useful not just to those seeking to enter the world of Human-Centered Design, but also bring visibility to freelancer and small-scale collaborations between professionals already practicing in the field.

A thank you goes to …

Many of the organizations and companies represented in the original list were provided by George Aye of the Greater Good Institute, and were cross-referenced and integrated with the original list provided. We are thankful for his contributions, and hope to soon have many more to add and update in the near future. With this, we understand that this list is a work in progress, both in terms of useful search criteria, and in terms of content. We hope to not only provide a tool for the design thinking community, but to create conversation and a living database to help newcomers and established professionals alike.

Natalia, Joelle, and Mike

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