Published 1 year ago.
About a 4 minute read.
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The non-profit global alliance features nine organizations committed to dedicating the power of their design communities to addressing the UN SDGs — beginning with SDG 6: clean water and sanitation.
A global non-profit alliance of industry-leading companies and institutions
across private sector, academia and social sectors launches today — with the
goal of advancing measurable positive impact against the United Nations’
Sustainable Development Goals (UN
SDGs), on a scale only
possible through global collaboration.
The Design for Good alliance comprises General
Mills, Logitech, McKinsey & Company, Microsoft Xbox, Nedbank,
Nestlé, PepsiCo, Philips and the Royal College of Art — with the
aim to expand its ranks soon. The design leaders at each of the founding
companies will make up an advisory council that supports the 5,000-strong design
community across all nine organizations in an unprecedented, nine-month
initiative to design and develop open-source products and services to address
some of society’s biggest challenges.
Combined, the Design for Good alliance already has over $400 billion in revenues,
almost 1 million employees and 5,000 designers. Each organization has committed
to allow their designers to work together in cross-company teams to research,
design and develop products and services that will make a meaningful difference
to the UN SDGs.
“The scale of the environmental and societal challenges we face today — climate
change, poverty, water and sanitation, global inequality and injustice —
requires collaboration of equal scale if we are to find solutions for all
people,” says Alastair Curtis, chief design officer at Logitech. “The role
of a designer is to improve the way we live; and this is a chance of a lifetime
to do just that. Design for Good harnesses the talents of a world-class design
community, unleashes the force of our collective experience, and can catalyze
innovation and social change. It’s time to act.”
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Each year, Design for Good will focus on one UN SDG. In this, its inaugural
year, the alliance will seek to address Goal
6, focused on clean water and sanitation.
Billions of people
live without safely managed drinking
sanitation and hygiene services, which are critical for protecting human health.
Gilbert Houngbo, Chair of UN-Water, is a trustee of Design for Good and
will help cultivate the support of local NGOs in communities most affected to
provide insights into real-world needs and constraints, to ensure designers’
solutions are sustainable. Design solutions may address issues such as access to
adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene; the promotion of desalination,
wastewater treatment, recycling and reuse technologies; or the implementation of
integrated water resources management.
The board of trustees for Design for Good already comprises Houngbo, Benedict
Sheppard (Partner, McKinsey & Company), Nick de Leon (Executive, Royal
College of Art) and John Maeda (technologist and designer).
The participation of local NGOs is integral to the initiative, providing
insights and support to the designers from the outset to ensure the products are
based on real user needs and constraints. Each year’s program is run over 6+
months to allow sufficient time for iteration within impacted communities. All
new solutions will be made available to the impacted communities on an
open-source, licence-free basis to maximise impact. The most promising
initiatives will be given additional funding and support to scale their benefit
Founding partners commit investment of up-front funding and resource from
design community within each organization;
Volunteer designers, with the support of their organization, individually
sign up to contribute five days of their time towards ideating, researching
and prototyping a product or service that responds to the designated UN SDG;
Designers will collaborate across regions, organizations and disciplines on
the possible thousands of design-focused and human-centric solutions, with
support from local NGOs to provide insight into real user needs and
constraints from the outset;
Solutions are to be submitted after six months and assessed against the UN
targets and indicators, and made available on an open-source, license-free
The most promising new solutions each year will be awarded funding for
accelerated scaling and implementation for global benefit;
Over time, the aspiration is to create innovations that transform the lives of
millions of people and communities around the world. The intention is not only
to create direct and measurable change, but to transform the way large companies
and institutions collaborate on common goals.
The initial results of Design for Good, with the first ideas announced for
implementation, will be published later in 2022.
For more information, visit designforgood.org.
Published Apr 21, 2022 9am EDT / 6am PDT / 2pm BST / 3pm CEST