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On Thursday August 2nd, I had the privilege to represent SAP at the Design for America Symposium held at Northwestern University. Educators from several SAP University Alliances schools and several SAP ecosystem partners were in attendance for a lively discussion around scaling design-led innovation capacity in academia and business.

Design for America equips students to tackle social challenges through design innovation. Interdisciplinary teams apply the design process to tackle extraordinary challenges in health, economy, education, and environment. DFA projects fuse collaboration, leadership, and creativity. Campus Studios are located at universities across the USA and are the heart of DFA. DFA student-led studios connect local organizations, mentors, and interdisciplinary student teams to practice design innovation and help change their communities for the better. The Symposium was part of the larger DFA Summit 2018 which brought together 250+ innovators to build the skills, mindsets, and connections that jumpstart community impact.

The high-level agenda for Thursday and Friday is described below.

Thursday, August 2 – Education @ Scale: Supporting Impactful Leaders

Best practices, case studies, building student leadership, coaching for impact

Welcome + Introductions

Rebecca Breuer, Design for America; Rob Calvey, Design for America; Liz Gerber, Faculty Founder of Design for America and Associate Professor of Design at Northwestern University

The Power of Design Education

Bruce Ankenman, Segal Design Institute at Northwestern University

Building Blocks for Design Education

Kim Hoffman, Segal Design Institute; Wendy Angst, University of Notre Dame; Claudia Roeschmann, Texas State University

Training the Trainers: Building a Leadership Ladder

Matthew Wettergreen, Rice University/Data Design Co

Friday, August 3rd – Impact @ Scale: More? Better?

Provocative panels designed to spark discussion and inspire change, followed by meeting DFA student leaders from across the network.

Panelists include: Doug Powell – IBM, Charles Adler – Kickstarter, Tracy Johnson – Gates Foundation, Nichole Pinkard – Northwestern & YOUmedia, Charles Coustan – MacArthur Foundation, Jason Kunesh – City of Chicago, Jodi Forlizzi – Carnegie Mellon University

The group gathered at the Ford Design Building on Northwestern’s campus. The Mission of the Segal Design Institute at the McCormick School of Engineering is to educate the next generation of synthetic thinkers and leaders — people who are able to move across domains and industries, identify convergences, and create impact through the lens of human-centered design. These thinkers are not generalists, but specialists of a different sort. They take a unified approach to solving problems, drawing on skills from engineering, social sciences, design, and management theory.

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