Social Impact – what ? where ? how?

I have often been asked about what is the Social Impact that the design is creating, and where has design played a role. I confess that I do not have a concrete answer to that question, as I am myself in the process of finding it.

As I gear up for another round of my travels and this time in the rural parts of the country, I am constantly thinking of finding examples of Design for Social Impact. The best part about this exercise is the fact that Design then does not be limited to any particular domain. Design then appears to be ubiquitous, and often one can see shades of innovation, across demographies and geographies.

The need of designing for the masses

I do some introspection on the state of things. I am always curious to know how the field can progress more. One definite way of doing it is to see how the examples and case studies can be shared. I am hoping to do the same from the field visits from now on. 

Since I am always interested in evangelizing about Design for Social Impact, there are two book that come really useful when trying to do any study of the field. One is Design for the Real World by Victor Papanek, and Design for Society by Nigel Whiteley. Papanek is considered to be the one who started the discourses around this field and his pieces are still valued today.

On Net Neutrality

Let me start with a question. Would you be willing to pay extra to have a particular content delivered to you at a premium price, so that you can access the same information faster? Or would you be willing to pay for a service that can be delivered on a higher priority as compared to its competitors? These are some of the issues that one needs to grapple with when we talk about Net Neutrality.

A quick search for it on Wikipedia mentions this: Network neutrality (also net neutrality, Internet neutrality) is a principle proposed for user access networks participating in the Internet that advocates no restrictions by the Internet Service Providers (ISP) and governments on content, sites, platforms, on the kinds of equipment that may be attached, and no restrictions on the modes of communication allowed.

The principle also states that if a given user pays for a certain level of Internet access, and another user pays for the same level of access, then the two users should be able to connect to each other at the subscribed level of access. This video on CNET demonstrates the concept very well.

Some of the proponents of Net Neutrality are large organizations like Yahoo, EBay, Amazon and individuals like Tim Berners Lee and Barack Obama. Groups like savetheinternet.com have been pretty active in promoting Net Neutrality too.

Looking at the other side of the coin, in simple words it means that in a non-net neutral world, if you are wanting to get a particular content, say like a video, and were willing to pay extra for it, the ISP would be able to do that for you as the information dissemination is at their disposal. If you wanted a Value Added Service (VAS) at a premium, there would be an . . . → Read More: On Net Neutrality

A Graphic Designer’s Journey

A wonderful representation. It’s so true!

A Graphic Designer's Journey

Image Source: http://www.hongkiat.com/blog/graphic-designers-journey-freelance-to-freedom-infographic/