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DSI Remembering Dr. Paul Polak, A Pioneer in Social Innovation

Program

Curriculum

Course Descriptions

Fundamentals of Design for Social Innovation

SIG-5030
Fall semester
Friday 9/6/19 9:30 am - 5 pm, Saturday 9/7/19 9:30 am - 3:30 pm
Friday 10/4/19 9:30 am - 5 pm, Saturday 10/5/19 9:30 am - 3:30 pm
Friday 11/1/19 9:30 am - 5 pm, Saturday 11/2/19 9:30 am - 3:30 pm
Friday 12/6/19 9:30 am - 5 pm, Saturday 12/7/19 9:30 am - 3:30 pm
Instructors: Marc Rettig, Hannah du Plessis

Environmental Ethics

SIG-5360
Environmental Ethics
Fall semester
Mondays 6:00 - 9:00 pm (8 classes: 9/09/19 – 10/28/19)
Instructor: Jaimie Cloud

In this series of three workshops, students use systems thinking and creativity to explore the intersection of sustainability and design, including discussions on economics and quality-of-life indicators, how to distinguish problems from symptoms, and unpacking the operating principles for life on Planet Earth.

Disruptive Design: Research and Insights

SIG-5350
Fall semester
Tuesdays 6:00 - 9:00 pm (9/3/19 - 12/10/19)
Instructor: Siri Betts-Sonstegard

Issues at the heart of Social Innovation, such as poverty, violence, civil rights, access to infrastructure and services, may not be acute or even present where we live, study and work. In this class, you will learn how to approach design for the needs and belief systems of others, especially marginalized communities whose lives, practices and experiences may be unfamiliar or contrary to your own. You will apply techniques to understand context, immerse yourself in communities, analyses complex relationships and leverage community members for self-driven projects. Over the first semester, students will build a foundation of methods and approaches which they can apply to parallel and future work.

Understanding Natural and Social Systems

SIG-5120
Fall semester
Wednesdays 2:00 - 5:00pm (14 classes: 9/11/19 - 12/11/19)
Instructor: TBA
Social innovation and social entrepreneurship, including novel approaches to financing these initiatives, are part of a vibrant global movement that promotes fresh responses to even the most vexing and complex social problems and needs. At the intersection of various perspectives and sectors, social innovation is largely a practice-led field and can lack common language and frameworks, depending on the stakeholders. What may be called social innovation can emerge from the public as well as private sectors (both for-profit and not-for-profit), from small start-ups as well as seemingly entrenched bureaucracies.

Through the lens of experts across fields that intersect with this one, via readings, instruction, multimedia, case studies, and class discussion, this course will provide an overview of key themes and types of actors in the ecosystem of social innovation. It will also help to place the current focus of innovation and entrepreneurship into context within longstanding efforts at social change.

Technologies for Designing Change I

SIG-5170
Fall semester
Mondays 6:00 – 9:00 pm (7 classes: 11/14/19 – 12/16/19)
Instructor: Lee-Sean Huang

From Skynet to Hal 9000 popular culture has cast Artificial Intelligence as the catalyst of the apocalypse, but what if AI could help humanity instead of dooming it? This course explores Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning and how these technologies might be applied to global issues. We will look at the history of AI from the works of Alan Turing to Elon Musk and examine the current state of the technology, how it fails and where it succeeds. Students will be introduced to IBM Watson’s technology and have access to the APIs, a background in computer science is not necessary. The course will culminate in a project to design and prototype an artificial intelligence application for social good.

Global Guest Lecture Series I

SIG-5220
Fall semester
Wednesdays 6:00 – 9:00 pm (9/14/19 - 12/11/19)
Instructors: Miya Osaki, Emily Herrick
This weekly yearlong lecture course exposes students to the lives and ideas of some of the most important people defining social innovation in the world today. Speakers are curated to inspire new thinking and dialogue on various opportunities for careers in social innovation, and how design plays a role in each of them.

Mapping and Visualization Design

SIG-5150
Mapping and Visualization Design
Fall semester
Thursdays 6:00 – 9:00 pm (9/4/19 - 12/17/19)
Instructor: Edwina Portocarrero

This course teaches mapping and visualizing systems in order to facilitate a journey from thinking to making. Readings, discussions and weekly “experiments” are employed to investigate how mapping and modeling techniques can help develop sustainable frameworks of action. The course helps students visualize and articulate their thinking, explore ways of planning and communicating solutions, and develop new models of engagement and action.

Introduction to Thesis

SIG-5440
Introduction to Thesis
Spring semester
Monday 6:00 – 9:00 (1/14/19 – 5/06/19)
Instructors: Alison Cornyn, Natalia Radywyl

In this course, students investigate a variety of topics, researching each to the point of confirming their own interest and the viability of the concept. Exercises in problem definition, audience identification, research and barriers to change help students test their own hypotheses. Criteria include demonstration of need on the part of the audience, a clear articulation of the concept and metrics for success. By the end of the semester, students have a fully vetted topic for their thesis.

Technologies for Designing Change II

SIG-5410
Technologies for Designing Change II
Spring semester
Tuesdays 12:00 - 3:00 (1/15/19 – 5/06/19)
Instructors:Lee-Sean Huang

In this making course, students will explore a range of methods and techniques for taking a concept to completion using design and physical computing. The class will focus on digital and physical prototypes as a method of testing and learning. This learning will support the systematic design decisions that determine the quality, impact and outcome of social design.

Communication Design

SIG-5070
Communication Design
Spring semester
Monday 2:00 – 5:00 (1/14/19 - 5/06/19; 1/28 class rescheduled to Wednesday 1/30)
Instructor: Faculty

In this course, students learn to use language and both verbal and visual communication skills to engage, persuade and shift behavior, through story writing and telling, cogent logic and public presentations. The class is based on developing personal voice as well as working with external clients and organizations to design communication as a system with intentional impact on outcomes. The class culminates with presentations to external clients.

Global Guest Lecture Series II

SIG-5225
Global Guest Lecture Series II
Spring semester
Wednesday 6:00 – 9:00 (1/16/19 - 5/01/19)
Instructors: Faculty

This is the second part of a two-semester course. This weekly yearlong lecture course exposes students to the lives and ideas of some of the most important people defining social innovation in the world today. Speakers are curated to inspire new thinking and dialogue on various opportunities for careers in social innovation, and how design plays a role in each of them.
Watch Lecture Videos

Games for Impact

SIG-5390
Games for Impact
Spring semester
Thursday 6:00 – 9:00 (1/17/19 - 5/02/19)
Instructors: Mattie Brice, Nicholas Fortugno

Games designed to address social and political issues are one of the fastest growing categories in the ‘serious games’ movement. This course incorporates game theory and analysis with hands-on development of social impact games: interactive experiences that integrate socio-political events, values and messages into their design and game mechanics. Working in teams, students take on game projects from concept to a functional prototype, and refine their projects through several iterations, ending with presentations to a jury of experts.

Creative Writing for Social Designers

SIG-5811
Creative Writing for Social Designers
Spring semester
Friday 9:00-12:00 (3/15/19, 3/22/19, 3/29/19)
Instructor: Faculty

The maxim that all change begins with language is true in the visual arts to the same extent that it is anywhere else. Yet social impact designers — who make their professional careers developing initiatives that change lives, often with enormous public consequence — are often not taught how to write. Both the design and social innovation fields are rife with argot and clichés that deaden 16/SIG meaning instead of uncovering it. The goal of this class is to give social designers access to the power of creative writing in order to more fully understand themselves, and combine that self-knowledge with writing that will infect and inspire their audiences.

Thesis Consultation: Research, Writing, Presentation

SIG-6190
Thesis Consultation: Research, Writing, Presentation
Fall semester: 6 credits 9/09/19 - 12/16/19
Monday 6:00 – 9:00 pm
Instructors: Archie Coates IV, Jeffrey Franklin, Mari Nakano, Esther Y. Kang

Guided by their faculty advisors, students conduct research to develop a thorough understanding of the context, landscape and challenges of their thesis topic. They design and implement a series of prototypes to test and refine their theory, and create a compelling presentation, which brings each vision’s potential to life through words, images and graphics. Presentation to the thesis advisory board for approval of the thesis topic is required.

Metrics and Data Visualization I

SIG-6170
Metrics and Data Visualization I
Fall semester: 3 credits 9/03/19 - 12/10/19
Thursdays 6:00 – 9:00 pm
Instructor: Wenfei Xu

This yearlong course looks at theory and practice of gathering and visualizing data by integrating the identification of metrics into ongoing student projects and evaluating metrics from case studies in order to understand their strategy. In the fall, the course focuses on data and visualization for exploration: asking useful questions and engaging in purposeful discovery. In the spring, students study data and visualization for explanation: how various tools and techniques help us communicate with and influence others. Guest lecturers include data scientists, financial modelers and corporate social responsibility experts.

Global Guest Lecture Series III

SIG-6220
Fall semester: 3 credits 9/04/19 - 12/11/19
Wednesdays 6:00 – 9:00 pm
Instructors: Miya Osaki, TBA

This weekly yearlong lecture course exposes students to the lives and ideas of some of the most important people defining social innovation in the world today. Speakers are curated to inspire new thinking and dialogue on various opportunities for careers in social innovation, and how design plays a role in each of them.

Leadership and Entrepreneurship I

SIG-6060
Leadership and Entrepreneurship I
Fall semester
*Note this course is taught in two sections with two instructors:

Thursdays 6:00 - 9:00 pm
Instructor: Kobla Asamoah

Fridays 12:00 - 6:00 pm (only on the following dates: 09/06/19[DSI], 09/20/19[Virtual Lab], 10/04/19[DSI], 10/18/19[Virtual Lab], 11/01/19[DSI], 11/15/19[Virtual Lab], 12/13/19[DSI])
Instructor: Karen Proctor

The core of the yearlong course is the launch of start-ups in student teams, through which theory and practice on entrepreneurship, leadership, collaboration, and business models are melded. Topics covered include customer identification, development, and channels; articulating and testing hypotheses; collaborative leadership and team dynamics; creating minimum viable products; revenue models; and resilience.

Thesis Consultation: Implementation

SIG-6940
Thesis Consultation: Implementation
Spring semester
Monday 6:00 – 9:00 (1/14/19 – 5/06/19)
Instructors: Miya Osaki, Archie Coates IV, Jeffrey Franklin, Mari Nakano

With the help of thesis advisors, students complete their thesis and develop it into a form ready to be implemented. Presentation of the thesis to the full board of advisors is required; following approval, each student presents their final thesis to a public audience. A review committed consisting of the program chair, additional faculty and outside experts will critique presentations at critical intervals during the semester.

Metrics and Data Visualization II

SIG-6175
Metrics and Data Visualization II
Spring semester
Thursday 6:00 – 9:00 (1/17/19 - 5/02/19)
Instructor: Gabe Schuster

This year-long course looks at theory and practice of gathering and visualizing data by integrating the identification of metrics into ongoing student projects and evaluating metrics from case studies in order to understand their strategy. In the fall, the course focuses on data and visualization for exploration: asking useful questions and engaging in purposeful discovery. In the spring, students study data and visualization for explanation: how various tools and techniques help us communicate with and influence others. Guest lecturers include data scientists, financial modelers and corporate social responsibility experts.

Global Guest Lecture Series IV

SIG-6225
Global Guest Lecture Series IV
Spring semester
Wednesday 6:00 – 9:00 (1/16/19 - 5/01/19)
Instructors: Faculty

This is the second part of a two-semester course. This weekly yearlong lecture course exposes students to the lives and ideas of some of the most important people defining social innovation in the world today. Speakers are curated to inspire new thinking and dialogue on various opportunities for careers in social innovation, and how design plays a role in each of them.
Watch Lecture Videos

Leadership and Entrepreneurship II

SIG-6065
Leadership and Entrepreneurship II
Spring semester

Fridays 12:00-6:00 (1/18, 2/1, 3/1 4/5, 4/18. Virtual: 2/15, 3/15)
Instructor: Karen Proctor

This course is taught in conjunction with SIG-6080, Leadership, as an alternating class over two semesters, with combined learning objectives. The core of the year-long course is the launch of start-ups in student teams, through which theory and practice on entrepreneurship, leadership, collaboration, and business models are melded. Topics covered include customer identification, development, and channels; articulating and testing hypotheses; collaborative leadership and team dynamics; creating minimum viable products; revenue models; and resilience.

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(212) 592–2205

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