Make It Right
16 Jul 2010|cfinlay
We had an excellent visit from the not-for-profit design house Catapult represented by cofounders Heather Fleming and Tyler Valiquette. Catapult presented their wonderful works in emerging nations but brought something even better than just great design work. They brought a powerful question – “How are we creating long term solutions for local needs in emerging economies rather than just pretty designs with limited impact?” This is quite appropriate after a recent kerfuffle between design leader Bruce Nussbaum and Project H founder Emily Pilloton. While the dust up was mostly noise it pointed to the touchy issue that many design firms make neat solutions but solutions that scale are something different. Many of the most interesting projects and designs reach only a few thousand people. While no one has the answer, the question is a great place to start.
Catapult’s team described their ability to map the local resources and connect projects to the right resources. This seems like a great start. They also use some of our favorite ethnographic and secondary research techniques to create a deep understanding of the local needs and context for the solutions. Catapult has plenty of competition but they have plenty of smarts and lots of attention too. 1 They are also all about sharing their knowledge so between the love they get and the love they give, they have a shot a making a difference.
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