Five Top Social Innovators to See at the ‘Measured Summit’
January 19, 2017
by Ken Switzer
In 2012, renowned designer and brand strategist Cheryl Heller launched MFA Design for Social Innovation (SVADSI), the first program of its kind at the College. “The curriculum grew from what we had all seen and learned in our journeys to contribute to improving the human condition through design,” says Heller, who is chair of the department. “We’re now in our fifth year, and our graduates are out in the world, practicing at global NGOs, government, corporations, health care institutions, in creative consultancies and as founders of their own enterprises.”
Fitting for its five-year anniversary, SVADSI presents a forward-thinking symposium entitled The Measured Summit: Measuring the Impact of Social Design on Human Health, which is being held on January 24th at the SVA Theatre. This all-day event will bring together Heller and more than 30 other leaders and practitioners from business, the social sector, foundations, technology and design to discuss and share tools and strategies for investigating community needs and establishing the practice of monitoring and evaluating how the design process contributes to social impact programs. Below is a guide to five of the many leading social innovators that will be offering their ideas and expertise throughout the day.
Tracy Johnson: Senior Program Officer, User Experience & Innovation, at the Gates Foundation, Johnson has developed innovative research and program agendas on behalf of Fortune 500 clients as well as in international development.
Michael Murphy: As Co-founder and Executive Director of MASS Design Group, Murphy designs, builds and advocates for buildings that improve health and strengthen communities. He has overseen the expansion of MASS into 10 countries and three continents.
Maggie Breslin: MFA Design for Social Innovation faculty member Breslin spent over a decade as a designer and researcher in the healthcare space, including seven-plus years at the Mayo Clinic’s Center for Innovation before becoming Co-director of The Patient Revolution, an action and advocacy movement for careful and kind patient care.
Doug Powell: As a Distinguished Designer at IBM, Powell directs the program to scale design and design thinking across the global tech company. He is a lecturer, commentator and thought leader on design issues, and served as the national president of AIGA, the professional association for design.
Heather Fleming: Catapult Design is a product and service firm with expertise in human-centered design for low-income or marginalized communities, focusing on rural electrification, water purification and transport, food security and improved health.