Friday Fiver: Privilege, LEGOs, Storytelling, a Drinkable Book, and Creativity

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If you follow me on Twitter, you have probably seen the many things I find and share throughout the week. There is an immense amount of content I consume each day (which–oddly enough–I am competing against as a blogger) and through all the sifting, sorting, clicking, browsing, and closing, there usually emerges profound, inspiring, and must-share content.

Channeling the short-post style on PublicInterestDesign.org, below are my top five from this week that I think are worthy of your time. Think of it as: if you missed it on Twitter, I hope you click-through here to read or watch.

Happy Friday and cheers to a happy weekend!

1. Thoughts on Overcoming Ideological Barriers in Social Innovation

Sean Rico Fisher recaps a workshop entitled ‘Putting Privilege in its Place’ that focused on teaching social sector leaders about “the realities and pitfalls of building programs centered on our own perspectives of the world — as opposed the ones of those we serve.” This definitely rings true with social impact design work, too.

2. The Drinkable Book


Should be invention of the year. Or decade. Or century. For 10 cents, each page in the book can be used for weeks to filter out waterborne diseases. Imagine the impact this could have for accessing clean water.

3. Director Richard Linklater Shares His Keys to Great Storytelling

With social impact design focused on the people (end users, beneficiaries, community, etc.) who use the solution (product, space, graphic, service,) storytelling is becoming an essential tool to help convey the ‘soft’ outcomes that numbers can’t describe. Learning how to tell these stories in a meaningful, provocative, and captivating way requires as much creativity as do the designs itself. This is where Richard Linklater comes in. In his quote below, replace ‘cinema’ with ‘design’ and ‘movie’ with ‘product’ or ‘building’ and open your mind to power of using storytelling for design in new ways.

There are a lot of stories in the world, and I spend all my time thinking about how to tell them. That, to me, is the cinematic element. That’s the hard part: the right narrative form on every movie is the thing I have to break. New forms have always been a part of my thinking… Cinema is such a unique art form that still has a lot more storytelling possibility. So I’ve always gone on the premise that there are a lot of new forms that have yet to be invented or utilized, even when I was a young punk kid.

4. Braigo: the LEGO Braille Printer


“Forget millennials. Gen2 is who I’m focusing on now,” declared tech/urban designer Patrick McDonnell recently. And this 12 year-old who built ‘Braigo’ makes me a believer. I can’t even imagine what science fairs look like these days.

5. The Creative Climate

This New York Times op-ed by David Brooks unveils the duality of creativity and how contradictions and tensions within one person or between two “co-opinionators” produce the most interesting results. And when this is done within a “rotting institution” that people want to reinvent, it produces even better results. Sound familiar, humanitarian/public interest/social impact designers?!?

If you are looking for people who are going to be creative in the current climate, I’d look for people who are disillusioned with politics even as they go into it; who are disenchanted with contemporary worship, even as they join the church; who are disgusted by finance even as they work in finance. These people believe in the goals of their systems but detest how they function. They contain the anxious contradictions between disillusionment and hope.

I would love to hear your most memorable finds from this week. Share ’em with us below!

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