SchoolArts Magazine

AUG-SEP 2010

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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Design Thinking Compassion Drives Good Design Emily Pilloton helped design these Hippo Rollers, which help villagers transport up to 200 pounds of clean water from the source to their village. Photo credit Project H Design. Martin Rayala C ompassion might not be a term that comes to mind when thinking about design because we too often equate design primarily with commerce and functionality. Design begins and ends with compassion because it is all about creating compelling innovation that helps others. One of the principles of design thinking is that inspiration for new ideas requires empathy for others. The world-class design firm IDEO uses the word empathy to signify their motivation for observing and understanding the people for whom they are designing. When trying to solve a problem, IDEO sends observers out for firsthand, empathic observation of people dealing with the problem or with other attempts to solve the problem. Understanding the needs of others is the starting point for innovation and design. Design for the other 90% The Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in New York City put together an exhibit called Design for the Other 90%, which explored the growing movement among designers to design low-cost solutions for the 5.8 billion people on the planet who have 14 August/September 2010 SchoolArts little or no access to the products and services enjoyed by the other 10% of the 6.5 billion people on Earth. The designs featured in the exhibit are aimed at providing access to basic necessities like food, clean water, and shelter for billions of men, women, and children. ing products like these to the billions of poor people who "don't have jack." Emily responded by saying "We like to measure the triple bottom line: planet, people, and profit." Many well-meaning attempts to help people suffering from lack of food, water, shelter, health, education, and energy only reach the level of raisproject h Design ing public awareness with the hope Emily Pilloton's Project H Design inithat people will perhaps contribute tiative connects the power of design to money. Designers move beyond raisthe people who need it most, and the ing awareness and collecting donaplaces where it can make a real and tions to using their unique skills lasting difference. to help solve the Designers working Design begins and ends problems. Designers with Pilloton use a with compassion because learn how to recogdesign process that nize needs, visualize it is all about creating includes designing innovative solutions, compelling innovation develop working with, not for people; that helps others. starting locally and prototypes, and scaling globally, and implement systems designing systems, not stuff for those to solve problems for others. Design without access to creative capital. today is more about compassion than They believe design can change the commerce. world. Martin Rayala teaches at Kutztown Emily appeared on Stephen ColUniversity in Kutztown, Pennsylvania. bert's "The Colbert Report" and he Rayala@Kutztown.edu tried out some of the products being designed for the poor in Africa like Web Links eyeglasses that can be adjusted for any anddesignmagazine.blogspot.com prescription. Colbert slyly suggested emily@projecthdesign.org she could make a load of money sell-

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