DSI A Jump Start Into the Fall Semester

Everything Was Fine Until Cheryl Heller Spoke

In three different cities in Australia, to a total audience of well over a thousand, DSI Chair Cheryl Heller spoke and offered Master Classes on MFA Design for Social Innovation at SVA last week.

From reactions at the events and on social media, it seems that design for social innovation is a relatively new concept in Australia. People had the same response there that we hear when applicants from the U.S. and other parts of the world learn about the program for the first time, in a “Where have you been all my life” moment, or “You made this program just for me.”

The sponsoring organization of these gatherings, Sex, Drugs and Helvetica, is dedicated to sharing process with their audiences. They recruit speakers to share the good and the ugly bits of process and relationships that go into the creation of every major design initiative. In this fifth year, James Greenfield from the UK spoke about leading the rebrand of AirBnB, Zoé Pollit from Australia spoke about her work with Westfield in Sydney, Ben Miles from Interbrand presented his work with New Zealand’s Syke TV, Nick Cox, a restaurant design guru, covered the experience of launching Supernormal in Melbourne, and service and experience designer Daniel Banik spoke about his work on water conservation. The inclusion of a presentation on the creation and outcomes of a graduate program was an unusual project in the typical SDH mix.

We hope to have caused just the right amount of “Blessed Unrest” there, to quote Paul Hawken. The quote in this title came from a group of students after Cheryl Heller finished the last presentation of the day.

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