The recently concluded Aspen Design Summit (November 11-14) was, at least conceptually, an important trans-disciplinary event. Growing out of a Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio conference on  how design can help inform and improve  social sector delivery, the hands-on workshop (sponsored by Rockefeller and the Winterhouse  Institute in collaboration with AIGA) brought together public, private, and design sector experts to work on five well-defined (and very challenging) projects with as many client organizations. Read more about the Summit, the results, and the overall problem-solving space at Change Observer here and the Winterhouse Institute here.

As the entire “design for social change” movement gathers momentum and matures, we hope to see more organizational infrastructure emerge (and this is an area of keen interest to SFIP). One of the outcomes of the Aspen event was a proposal for New Design, a soft structure linking interested design firms to philanthropic funders and  social challenges, which may be a step in the right direction. As one summit participant oberserved: “…there’s only so much you can accomplish in three days….” What if this was one part of an “Appropriate Solutions Laboratory” @ SFIP?