Reconsidered is a bi-weekly newsletter curating thought-provoking content on corporate social responsibility, sustainability and social impact. Click here to subscribe.
This Week's Five Links
Google’s Quest to Develop a Plant-Based “Power Dish” More Popular Than Meat — Fast Company
Blended mushroom-beef burgers. Vegetable broth pho. Spicy multi-nut maitake quinoa tortilla tacos. Google is taking a data-driven approach to finding no-meat and lesser-meat alternatives to rival “power dishes” like chicken sandwiches and grilled salmon, using campus cafeterias as their test kitchens. Yum.
If You Fix This, You Fix a Big Piece of the Climate Puzzle — The New York Times
Between building more wind farms, eating less meat, improving air conditioners and switching to mass transit, what do you think has the biggest climate impact? 👉 Additional reading: A new book ranks the top 100 solutions to climate change. The results are surprising.
The Man Who's Making Nike More Sustainable — Esquire
Miniwiz CEO Arthur Huang is beyond sustainable design. He’s more interested in “anti-disposability.” Huang recently partnered with Nike on an Air Max 1 that considers disposability from the recyclable materials used to make the shoe, to the innovative “Air Bag” recycled plastic packaging, to a manufacturing process that could potentially be conducted locally.
By the People: Designing a Better America — Cooper Hewitt
The Cooper Hewitt museum in New York recently staged this impactful exhibition on socially responsible design solutions across America — like a modular housing development that makes it easier for grandparents to watch their grandchildren or youth-oriented mobile farm stands that bring fresh produce to food deserts. Though the exhibition recently closed, the catalog is still online and is a fun browse.
Global Footprint Calculator — Global Footprint Network
August 2nd marked Earth Overshoot Day — the date on which we will have used more from nature than our planet can renew in the whole year. This engaging calculator helps individuals identify their personal Earth Overshoot Days based on their daily habits. Though systemic solutions will have a far greater impact on the planet than individual actions, I feel there’s still a role for personal behavior change in driving positive change. This tool can help.
Thank you Christian, Lily, Joana, Auralis, Chelsea, Evan, Nikita and Beth for sharing great links this week.
Spotlight: Design Thinking
Recently, my eye was drawn to the book Designing for the Common Good at my local library here in Amsterdam. The book features more than 20 global projects undertaken by Sydney-based research center Designing Out Crime, which has the mission to bring design innovation to complex crime and social problems. These case studies show how design thinking helped to reframe a social problem in a way that led to better outcomes — an approach that has wider applicability across the social impact sphere.
Take, for instance, the redesign of Sydney’s Kings Cross neighborhood. Rather than focus on “what we want to fix,” the researchers zeroed in on the question, “what do we want more of?” This repositioning allowed them to look at the broader question of how to build an environment that encourages safe exploration and experimentation for youths, rather than the narrower question of how to banish crime. They noticed that more often than not, violence resulted because youths did not having a constructive outlet for their frustration and confusion about growing up. The result was a 10-year program that involved young people in creating initiatives to help them grow up safely.
When looking at massive social and environmental challenges, new approaches are needed. Here is where design thinking and its close cousin, human-centered design, can be powerful frameworks for blue-sky thinking. In my exploration of this topic, there are a few other resources that have been helpful:
- Change by Design: How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations and Inspires Innovation: This classic book by IDEO CEO Tim Brown was one of the first to introduce the concept of design thinking to the mainstream.
- Stanford’s d.school Tools for Taking Action: A collection of web resources curated out of Stanford’s famed design program.
- GV Design Sprint: A five-day process for addressing business challenges through design, prototyping and testing ideas with customers, from the folks at Google Ventures.
- Acumen+ and IDEO.org Introduction to Human Centered-Design: a free, nine-week online course on human-centered design, with a curriculum centered around a group project. The next start date is September 12, 2017.
- IDEO.org's Design Kit: a digital collection of mindsets, methods and case studies on human-centered design.
Social Impact Jobs
Echoing Green - Sr. Associate, Global Fellowship Program (New York, NY)
Fashion for Good - Investment Manager (Amsterdam, Netherlands)
NBCUniversal - Sustainability Coordinator (Universal City, California)
Nike - Senior Director, Transparency and Engagement (Portland, Oregon)
NYU Stern School of Business - Associate Director, Social Impact (New York, NY)
Revolution Foods - Director of Marketing/Communications (Oakland, CA)
Singularity University - Program Director, Impact Partnerships (San Francisco, CA)
VF Corporation - Sustainability & Responsibility Manager (Ticino, Switzerland)
Are you hiring for a job in corporate responsibility, sustainability or social impact? Let me know and I'm happy to post it here.