Recap: Story Hour – Social Impact

July 28, 2016 | | View Comments

If the essence of design is creating something for someone else, the speakers at our latest event showed us how rewarding it can be to co-design something for social good. The six designers who gave lightning talks at our second-ever San Francisco Story Hour found personal inspiration and growth by designing for and with populations (young children; the homeless) different from themselves. The event, our first foray into San Francisco Design Week, was co-hosted by Adaptive Path.


Liz Nugent spoke about her work with Autodesk in South Africa, where she found inspiration in teaching kids about circuits. Liz and her colleagues used Makey Makey‘s fruit piano to introduce engineering topics. Similarly, Tyler Pew of KIDmob told us about his lessons learned in teaching kids to design and build projects for their own communities. Working with kids to overcome tools that backfire, such as a jigsaw sparking a (literal) fire on a piece of plywood in an elementary school, taught Tyler to roll with the punches.


Jessa Blades told us about how works with other non-profits to jumpstart 14-week projects on topics like teen condom use, while Shalene Hatton from UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital walked us through the five stages of art therapy and how she devises new activities to help young people in crisis.

Shalom Ormsby gave an emotional presentation about his recent project, Luke Hand. When Ormsby, a human centered designer working on 3D printing for Autodesk, learned that his son was to be born with one hand, he delved into the research around prosthetics for children. Discovering a large market whose needs he feels aren’t being met, Ormsby put together a team of designers and investors to help him achieve his goal of building an appropriate prosthetic hand for a four-year-old child by 2020.

Anel Muller ended the evening by talking about the pro bono service design work that Adaptive Path has done with Glide Memorial Church. Before working with the church to provide toiletries, food, and other necessities to the homeless, Anel was afraid that the homeless community wouldn’t accept her and her team. In the end, they found they had nothing to worry about. Their concept, a general store for the homeless called Glide Goods, is open now at Glide’s facility in the Tenderloin.


Design for Social Impact is one of Design Museum’s key areas of emphasis for 2016. To stay in the loop about our upcoming events on this topic as well as all other matters of design, join our San Francisco mailing list.

To learn more about, the pro-bono arm of Adaptive path, email Anel Muller at anel at adaptivepath dot com.