Three Practical Ways to Contribute to Social Change per Durell Coleman
We would all like our world to become a better place for everyone. However, it’s easier said than done. Hence, the need of the hour is to develop practical ways that can genuinely contribute to impacting societies’ most vulnerable. Durell Coleman, Founder and CEO of DC Design, offers three practical ways to do so.
Engage With Those Who Empathize
It’s a rather pitiful state of affairs when the general sense of social change is associated with sympathy. It seems to be the right response to suffering. We pity, sympathize, and move on, having contended ourselves with paying our due through an emotional currency. However, sympathizers don’t make an effective social impact; empathizers do.
As a social impact design firm, DC Design’s cross-disciplinary team is able to make a real social impact, having first been affected by its harsh realities themselves. Coleman, for instance, watched his older brother pass away fighting a rare form of cancer while the world outside went on unchanged. His experience drives his work; he says, “my yardstick for measuring social change is simple – who are the people dealing with some of the biggest health and wellbeing challenges? Are we making life easier for them? Are we creating things that are improving outcomes for them? That’s part of how I measure it or how I focus on it and our work. We think about the people who are not being served.”
Develop Well-Directed Solutions
There are plenty of good-hearted organizations in the world. It may sound oxymoronic, but that doesn’t make it untrue. Durell has worked with organizations that he considers “incredible change-makers.” For him, all that a well-meaning organization needs and often lacks is “good direction,” whether it’s deciding “where to go next” and/or “how to cater their services and programs to best meet the needs of those they serve.”
Coleman understands the complexity of social issues and how they divide people’s opinions and turn the approach into a labyrinth of disjointed ideas. DC Design’s Human-Centered Design process, also known as Design Thinking, helps clients develop a coherent framework that incorporates different perspectives and skill sets to reach a well-rounded solution.
Move With The Times
We’re living in the age of technology. Golden for some, and not quite so for others. Yet, it’s one of the best chances we’ve had in centuries to make the world a better place for everyone in it. In short, technology can pave the way for social change.
When human concern and technology come together, we get wheelchair ramps in hospitals, better helplines, and apps that allow those in need to get the help they need in time. Through his DC Design University, Coleman and team have created a flagship program called Design the Future, “where we teach high school kids how to design apps and products for people with disabilities,” he says. “They’ve solved problems that people have been living with for 20 years. These are 15-year-olds and 16-year-olds doing this in a week or two weeks, and they do it repeatedly.”
Social change can be brought about with innovative thinking in a direction that will bring collective benefit to the community. If you’re working on a systemic social change initiative or just want personal guidance on how you can change the world, reach out to DC Design for help.