Once a upon ‘Design for Social Change’
PocketChange was created to help your business be inclusive and conscious of our world. The following story explains problem solving through design thinking, collaboration and inspiration. #amazinghumans #svanyc2016
Finding the heart of change.
There are social and environmental issues occurring around us every day. The world clearly needs some love, but it can’t be done with one big hug.
They say – ’start where you are’. So I live in the United Arab Emirates. Where I’m aware that, unlike businesses in the west that are recognising the benefits of including the shared values of people, planet and profits into their business models, through lack of awareness – the UAE is generally behind the curve with social change. Throughout the seven Emirates, the country experiences an odd tension between rapid westernised development and embracing traditions, culture and Emiratisation, with the latter supported by large government subsidies. The expat population, therefore, tend to only stay for short periods to make what money they can and then return to their homelands. Although a small band of people, local and expat, is emerging that are attempting to tackle ‘social and environmental impacts’, generally the long term effects of business decisions are not questioned or monitored, and so are neglected.
The lack of companies certified as B-Corp – a very rigorous certification program that identities companies with a deep social mission – is an example of this. Although not the ultimate bench mark, this simple fact is indicative of the companies I have come in contact with during my time in the region.
The topic of ‘shared values’ is often put aside for profit focus, lack of time and funds, stakeholder pressures and malleable regulations.
So what can I do?
As a creative designer with a diverse background, I have gained an eclectic set of skills that I believe can enthusiastically encourage, enable and empower smaller businesses to tackle bigger world issues with tiny bites from the inside out, starting at the heart of brand creation and development. I promote my freelance services as …
When a business reaches out for design support, there is a clear leverage point to connect with people and directly encourage a change in thinking. To create a tangible discussion marker, the pocket concept will evolve to include the initiative …
Through the consulting process of design, the opportunity to embed the idea of ‘shared values’ into the core of a brand can be introduced and developed, especially with start up businesses.
The concept of ‘PocketChange’ will be rolled out by …
… creating conversation to bring the initiative to life.
Through a simple social media campaign, PocketChange will be brought into the public domain.
In conjunction, further topical discussions will be encouraged through:
– presence at existing exhibitions.
– hosting talks, particularly with groups already trying to make a difference.
– creating a platform to connect businesses to research and resources.
– and establishing a connection to a global authority to bench mark progress.
Using examples from similar ventures and connecting to relevant research and resources, the complexities of social and environmental change using capitalism will be simplified and communicated with graphical tools.
Showing each individual business the benefits of ‘doing good’ from the start for their overall growth. Each business will then be supported with integrating change into their brand.
To show the importance a brand places on it’s ‘values’ for change, unique physical coins will be produced and engraved with the company logo on one side and the values on the other, perhaps as a collection or on a single piece.
Owners and/or employees will carry these in their pockets, or on a keyring.
Literally carrying a reminder of their commitment to world change, and symbolising the monetary value change in thinking holds.
My hope is these small changes will have a ripple effect and the ‘pay it forward’ notion will see ‘value-change’ appear in pockets beyond the United Arab Emirates.