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Designing for Good: Thinking big by starting local

What role can Design Research play when tackling social issues? Increasingly well-established when it comes to product and service innovation, the principles upon which the approach is based are equally applicable to the challenges faced in a variety of social work. Minds & makers (Ger), addressed this topic at GOOD’11, providing an in-depth account via their analysis of the ‘workstreet’ project.

Workstreet is a project designed around street children in Cologne. By ethnographically exploring their everyday life, a range of opportunities to improve their living conditions could be developed from the ground-up, tackling issues such as outreach and inclusion at the earliest possible stages of the design process.

Minds & makers are currently working with a social institution in Cologne to test this approach out in the field, and will be presented some of their findings at GOOD in September. They went into detail about the issues faced in such work, providing insights on how to engage a difficult target group, and how involving local stakeholders in innovative ways can drive such projects forward.