Social Impact Design

SmartLife: Water + Health in Kenya

SmartLife Water + Health in Kenya Sustainable Business Sustaining Community is a social enterprise that sells pure drinking water and wellness products in impoverished communities of Nairobi, Kenya. The key components are a strong brand identity, a viable business model and a high-touch subscription service for clean water, hygiene and nutrition. This is a one-stop market-based solution that uses human-centered design.

Designed by, Water & Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP) and Unilever + GAIN

Contact: Jacqui Watts -


Sustainability Award: Making of Making Powered by NIKE MSI

Making of Making Powered by NIKE MSI (Materials Sustainability Index) is an app that ranks materials based on their environmental impact in four key areas: chemistry, energy, water and waste. The higher the score the smaller the environmental footprint of a given material. This tool is aimed at designers and creators to encourage sustainable product development in the apparel and footwear industries.

Designed by Dave Cobban, Jana Panfilio, Molly Conroy and Howard Lichter of Nike Inc.

Contact: Howard Lichter -


Healthy Baby: A Better Start for Newborns in Developing Countries

Healthy Baby: A Better Start for Newborns in Developing Countries is a kit designed to enable healthier pregnancies and births for women in the developing world. Provided by Community Health Workers, it includes nutritional supplements, medications, pregnancy information, sanitary supplies for delivery and gifts for the baby. Also, a transportation ticket encourages visits to a health worker.

Designed by frog

Contact: Nikki Roddy -


3D Printed Personal Ekso

The 3D Printed Personal Ekso is a ventilated lightweight 3D printed exoskeletal robot that allows users to walk among and interact with society eye-to-eye. Every exoskeleton is custom printed using a 3D body scan to provide an accurate symbiotic connection to the body and enable greater health and activity.

Designed by Gustavo Fricke, Scott Summit and Avi Reichental of 3D Systems; and Amanda Boxtel of Ekso Bionics for 3D Systems

Contact: Scott Summit -


Brand design, visual identity and signature for the Ensina Brasil social organization.

Ensina Brasil has the ambitious goal of bringing educational inequity in Brazil to an end. The brand identity for the initiative focused in the motto of “Learn, Teach, Transform.” The solid three-dimensional typography reinforces the goal of building a strong future, and the addition of the exclamation point expresses that Ensina is no longer a project but is instead a call. The multicolored logo reflects the multiplicity of voices that have different views, feelings and origins.

Credits: Ricardo Leite, Paula Damazio, Simone Lagares, Luciara Rocha Gomes e Priscila Zamponi.
Contact: Patricia Torres - or Ricardo Leite -


UNICEF Project Mwana: Using Mobile Technologies to Improve the Lives of Underserved

Project Mwana is a mobile service that delivers HIV lab results in real time to rural clinics. It is also a messaging platform between clinics and community health workers to ensure that results are communicated directly to mothers. Project Mwana is currently serving as a demonstration project for a new approach to collaborative design to enhance the use of real-time data within UNICEF.

Despite major advances in vaccines and treatments, many millions of children die unnecessarily each year, as much due to lack of access to information as to lack of access to medical supplies. The health minister of Zambia asked UNICEF to improve infant diagnosis and treatment in rural areas that sit far outside the reach of traditional infrastructure.

UNICEF normally takes a supply-first approach. The goal here was to flip that model and start with the end user. The team hoped to demonstrate the power of combining collaborative design methods and mobile technologies to reach the underserved and to create a model that could be applied across other programming areas.

The team faced a number of challenges in rural Zambia: few families own mobile devices, network coverage is intermittent, there are long distances between villages and clinics, and clinics have only the most antiquated record-keeping systems. These constraints forced the team to work with the materials and people at hand, focusing on volunteer community health workers (CHWs) who are the only consistent link in the chain. The solution had to be designed for and with the CHWs without adding more layers of rules to further complicate their lives.

The quality of the solution is based entirely on working rapidly and iteratively to design and deploy concepts in small increments. The first piece tested was a system for getting HIV results from a central lab back to the clinic via text messages, replacing a postal system that took up to four weeks to deliver the same information. The success of this solution created trust within the community that was essential to solving the much more difficult problem of helping CHWs understand the information, communicate it effectively to mothers, get infants into treatment and report back to the health ministry.

The design of this next layer required active participation from the CHWs. The team got immersed in their lives and routines, both in the clinic and in the community, and gave them phones to test early prototypes. Because CHWs receive very little feedback, the design team wanted a feature that let all the CHWs within a given community see how many results each worker was delivering per week. The CHWs also requested an open channel to ask questions, which allows the system to learn from them. Finally, upon reporting results each CHW gets thanked via a text message, a perfect illustration of the type of feature that would not have been created without a user-centered design process.

Credits: frog
Client: UNICEF
Contact: Jaleen Francois:


OpenIDEO is a Web platform where creative thinkers worldwide can design better, together. The community of over 26,000 members tackles global challenges for social good. Community members can contribute to the process in a variety of ways, from inspirational observations to business models and code snippets. The strongest ideas are then published in the public domain and can be taken forward by the community or the sponsoring organization.

Credits: Design credits: IDEO
Client: IDEO
Contact: Andrea Pomerance:


Firefly Phototherapy

The Firefly Phototherapy device was designed to treat newborns with jaundice in low-resource remote settings in Vietnam and Southeast Asia. The combination top and bottom phototherapy, robust enclosed housings, table-top size, removable and cleanable single-infant bassinet and high-tech medical aesthetic make trustworthy, intuitive and effective for in-room use with mothers in rural hospitals.

Credits: Design that Matters, William Harris IDSA, Elizabeth Johansen, Timothy Prestero, Lincoln Design Solutions, Dave Duncanson, Oakley Thomas, Boston Design Solutions, Mike Damiano and Joe Galibois
Corporate Sponsor: East Meets West Foundation
Contact: William Harris:



EzyStove® is a wood-burning stove developed with local users and produced locally for developing countries in need of a solution that replaces cooking over an open fire. EzyStove traps and insulates heat, thereby reducing the amount of wood needed by one-third, the CO2 emissions by 40 percent and other toxic gases by 70 percent.

Credits: Ergonomidesign, Mårten Andrén, Håkan Bergkvist, Jonas Dolk, August Michael, Stefan Strandberg and Elisabeth Ramel-Wåhrberg
Corporate Sponsor: Creative Entrepreneur Solutions (CES)
Contact: Niclas Andersson:


STREET FURNITURE FOR THE CITY OF SÃO PAULO – Bus Shelters and Information Displays

The project has won one of the biggest international bids for city furniture in the world: 7,500 bus shelters, designed for the City of São Paulo, constituting one of the largest outdoor urban media circuits in the world. Considering the urban scale, diversity and contrasts, the complex DNA Paulistano (from São Paulo) and the city s different realities, four distinct typologies were conceptualized: Brutalist, Structured Chaos, Hi-Tech and Minimalistic. The language of each typology is complementary and reflects the diverse urban situations, characteristics and personalities of São Paulo. With the human being as its central element, the design was created to provide maximum well-being to the 9 million passengers who use the  public transport system on a daily basis. As a premises, it contains the principles of universal design and all of the general principles of sustainability.

Designed by Guto Indio Da Costa

Contact: Guto Indio Da Costa -