Last week, California College of the Art’s Net Impact chapter (https://www.facebook.com/netimpact/?fref=ts) had the honor of hosting the our first Net Impact event as a new chapter, alongside the University of San Francisco, Presidio Graduate School, and the Hult International School of Business. Together, these schools make up the fledgling Bay Area Impact Design group, a student-led initiative to unite students from schools all over the Bay Area behind Design and Business for Social Impact.
It was quite a night — with students from each graduate program representing their respective schools, the event kicked off with introductions and quick reviews of each school’s past successful projects, including CCA’s own Juabar, which won the Net Impact scholarship (https://center.cca.edu/program/impact-awards) last year.
The collaborative “magic” that happened when four Bay Area business schools — each with their own specialties, skills and focus — got together to compare notes, work through problems, and plan for the future together, set the tone for the new BAID group. A short design sprint, with all of the teams made up of students from at least three schools, united them around designing a solution for a Bay Area-specific challenge, like water access or affordable housing, and the needs of a specific community. The teams generated dozens of creative ideas, focusing in on the needs of their chosen communities, and brainstorming up what their next steps would be if they took their idea into the “real world.”
The night finished up with an amazing guest speaker, Jonny Price. Jonny shared his experiences at the head of a San Francisco-based non-profit Kiva Zip (https://zip.kiva.org), that offers 0% interest loans to financially excluded entrepreneurs in the United States. He tied it all together for us, explaining how business and design combined can be an amazing means for social impact, and highlighting the business challenges — and opportunities — he’s faced, and made the most of, during his own time in the social impact space. Most of all, he showed us that keeping the people you’re working to serve at the center of your problem-solving process really sets the stage for meaningful, effective and socially impactful work.
Everyone left inspired, and hungry for more (but not actually hungry — cookies generously provided by local start-up Dough and Co. (https://www.facebook.com/doughandco) took care of that!). Stay tuned for more events from Bay Area Impact Design, and connect with the growing group on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/bayareaimpactdesign/) for updates on events, local volunteering and project opportunities through Net Impact, and more.