The best of the 2015 Better World by Design conference

The Better World by Design conference took Brown and RISD’s campuses by storm last weekend, bringing 700 attendees and volunteers together to hear from 50 incredible presenters. BlogDH had the honor of covering the three-day event from start to finish, and we live tweeted and intagrammed at you to share in the fun. Now that we’ve recovered from speaking in buzzwords like “design for social innovation” and “disruptive design,” we present to you a round-up of some of our favorite keynotes and workshops at the conference.

The conference opened on Friday with a presentation given by Annie Wu, a RISD alum and employee of Greater Good Studio in Chicago. Wu’s presentation centered on the principle of applying human-centered design to the often neglected, “unexotic underclass,” or those who lie outside the realm of the privileged upper-class that many startups tend to target. Drawing on successes and failures in her own work at Greater Good Studio, Wu’s message encapsulated the conference’s theme of access and perfectly set the tone for the events to come.

Later that day, RISD graduate Elio Icaza (’15) led a workshop on a project he’s been working on called Clear Canvas. The products of Clear Canvas are designed to help students collaborate in art and science classes. The workshop involved a clear white board, with a participant seated on other side. The participants would have to work together to draw an object, an idea or an emotion without talking. The workshop stressed mindful collaboration. By being able to see the person on the other side, the participants learned to respond to each other. This workshop was a lot of fun.


Gavin Atkinson (Brown ’13, RISD ’15) and Lukas Winklerprins (Brown ’15.5) ran a workshop titled “Speaking in Brick – Lego as a Creative Tool”, where participants used legos to explain a community they were a part of and a mental state. The workshop was inspiring, as it allowed participants to formulate and express their ideas despite different points of view.

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BlogDH Presents: Listen Up, a Blogcast

Hear ye, hear ye! We at Blog present to you Listen Up, a bi-weekly Blogcast that will be bringing you the most sensational news from Brunonia. This week, in our first episode, we cover A Slightly Better World By Design, the mediocre counterpart to A Better World By Design. Featured at the conference were the innovations of grass yelling and more efficient bathing techniques, among other advances.

Make sure to follow us on SoundCloud and download each episode for on-the-go listening!

The episode was written by Ari Snider ’18, Allie Tsuchiya ’18, and Ilan Desai-Geller ’18. It was produced by Ari Snider. 

Image via Albert Brown ’16. 


What to expect at this year’s Better World by Design conference

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Tomorrow, the famed Better World by Design conference returns to College Hill for its eighth installment. The theme for this year’s lecture-workshop-panel series, which will take place both up and down the Hill over the course of this weekend — is “access.” According to its website, the conference will strive to “craft a society that is inclusive” by “focus[ing] on collaboration and new mediums of translating ideas.”

So what should you expect this weekend? For one, there’s going to be a lot going on — just check out this schedule. With fourteen different events on Friday alone and a slate of over 50 presenters, this year’s Better World by Design promises to be jam-packed.

The event kicks off today at noon in Salomon, with opening remarks from Annie Wu of Greater Good Studio. Other speakers not to be missed include Alexis Loyd, Creative Director of New York Times Research & Design Lab, and Jason Severs, Executive Creative Director at frog design.

The event exists in blocks that range from 30 minutes to an hour and a half. Be sure to check out the schedule to find which presentations spark your interest, as many run at the same time.

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What to do this week: September 21- 27


Monday, September 21

Event: Drugs, Thugs, and Diplomats: US Policymaking in Colombia
Time: 4:00 p.m.
Location: Regardless of whether you love “Narcos” or have some legitimate concerns about it, you should join the Joukowsky Forum in discussing the US’s major aid package, “Plan Colombia.”

Event: Welcome Back WaterFire
Time: 7:15 p.m.
Location: near Memorial Park

This special edition of WaterFire is a welcome back for students of the area (that’s us!) and will feature: snacks.

Tuesday, September 22

Event: Advanced screening of “The Intern
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Location: Granoff auditorium

If you’re already stressed about getting an internship for next summer, unwind by watching Robert DiNero be the unlikely intern you aspire to be. Brown Motion Pictures is hosting this free, advanced screening.

Event: Gendo Taiko workshop
Time: 8:00 p.m.
Location: TF Green, Room 205

Join Gendo Taiko in an introductory class to taiko, (traditional Japanese drumming.) No experience is necessary for this rhythmic workshop.

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Better World conference this Saturday

Looking for another excuse to blow off your mounting work? Interested in design and the environment? Have we got the thing for you.

On Saturday, the crew from A Better World By Design will be back at it again, this time setting up shop in Smitty-B for a free one-day “mini-conference” open to the general public. Focusing on design-based solutions to local PVD social and environmental issues, the event will feature design workshops, a locally sourced catered lunch and a rapid prototype contest that’ll net the winner a cool $1,000. Who doesn’t like that? Dolla’ dolla’ bills, y’all!

The event is running from 9:45 am to 4 pm this Saturday, April 28, and space will be limited, so definitely register here if you’re interested. As an added bonus, those who make it to the morning portion get to experience something called the “Providence Granola Project.” Not exactly sure what that means, but let’s hope it’s nothing like the project they’re featuring in the afternoon

Beyond Beyond the Bottle: DCI Product Design Challenge 2012

Last year, Decor Craft Inc (DCI) partnered with A Better World by Design and brought us the DCI Product Design Challenge – and now they’re back with the 2nd annual Product Design Challenge!

The goal of the challenge is to move design toward products that engage with and attempt to resolve real problems facing our world. Here’s this year’s challenge:

“In today’s society, many people are spending more time indoors than ever before and missing the beauty outside. Submit an idea for a product that will encourage people to re-engage with the great outdoors.” (DCI/BWxD)

The challenge is open to designers around the world from any field, so jump on it, kids! It’s a pretty amazing opportunity to develop and submit an idea, and if doing that for its own sake isn’t enticing enough, the first place winner receives $1,000 and the opportunity to have their product distributed by DCI and showcased at the Better World by Design conference in the fall!

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