Social innovation in the curriculum: a model for community engagement and design intervention
Editor: Anja Maier, Stanko Škec, Harrison Kim, Michael Kokkolaras, Josef Oehmen, Georges Fadel, Filippo Salustri, Mike Van der Loos
Author: de Vere, Ian; Charny, Daniel
Institution: 1: Brunel University London, United Kingdom; 2: Kingston University, United Kingdom
Section: Design Education
Social impact implies the capacity to create positive social change for communities and individuals. It is essential that innovation addresses the needs of those less fortunate, and empowers individuals and communities for improved societal well-being. This necessitates a fresh approach to curriculum and pedagogy, and educators have responded by engaging with humanitarian aid agencies to expose students to real world problem scenarios. These social design educational initiatives, however well intentioned, are often remotely located and students lack access to users and communities in need. Without this interaction, cultural and contextual aspects can be misunderstood, and solutions may be misdirected. A local context facilitates engagement and allows co-design processes to occur. The social project discussed in this paper has proven to be an effective model for social design. Students engage with end users within their local community, using design skills to respond to specific needs. Recipients benefit from assistive solutions, whilst students develop empathy and understanding. This design intervention model has delivered successful outcomes, and a unique learning experience.