Design is a powerful and valuable thing. It can be used to solve big problems, challenge the norm, and create new, innovative ways of doing things. But the reality is that only a group of privileged few get to participate and design products for huge populations. Oftentimes that group is relatively homogenous and yet are making decisions that affect very different demographics.
While at Odopod, I've been helping to work on how we as a studio can help address this problem, or at least begin conversations about it. This year during AIGA's annual SF Design Week, Odopod hosted an event entitled "Who Gets to Design? A Conversation about the Challenge of Inclusion and Diversity in Design" during which speakers from local initiatives participated in a panel discussion on the topic. Throughout the night there was also an ongoing silent art auction to raise funds for these programs.
I helped to organize the event, reaching out to potential speakers, recruiting artists and art donations, and finalizing the logistics and execution. Tickets for the event sold out and we raised over $2,500 to benefit these local organizations.