15 November 2010

Using your creativity for positive change

Today marked the first day of Enterprise Week, a week full of free talks, practical workshops and guest speakers, it is part of Global Entrepreneurship Week, with 7.5million participants globally.

I attended a talk at Chelsea, 'Using your creativity for positive change'. It has broadened my thinking about the sorts of places I want to work this year.

There were two companies that really stood out to me today, firstly UnLtd - a charity which supports social entrepreneurs, anyone with an idea that could change the world for the better. 
They have a brilliant team who can provide a complete package of funding and support, to help you make your idea a reality. 
They are lottery funded themselves, which enables them to offer grants of up to £5000 to help you start something that will benefit society.

Common Ground are a design agency who's aim is to generate positive social change. Common Ground is run by two CSM graduates.
What was really impressive about them is that they only graduated two years ago and have already started up their own company with an aim for positive change. Bruno from Common Ground was really honest about how hard it is been, they are having to learn how to run their own business whilst also learning how they can help society, and they are not earning any money from it yet.
Common Ground is funded by UnLtd, this has allowed them to work on many different projects in the 7 short months they have been around.

It's always been in my nature to help people, I'm always intrigued by peoples problems and try to help where I can. I'm fascinated by knitty gritty subjects that some people might shy away from.
And I've also always had this inkling that working on big corporate projects, like advertising alcohol for example, didn't quite feel right for me.
I'm only just coming to realise that combining my nature to help people with my design skills would be the perfect job for me. And so I'm going to look into work placements with social enterprises and the public sector.
But I still want to work with design studios that don't specialise in social projects as I feel there is lots to learn from them as a designer. From developing strong design skills I will be able to help social problems more succesfully.

As the designer Michelle Lowe-Holder said today, "Remember you're a designer first, then decide what you want to do with your design skills."

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