Our AIGA MN Design for Good pilot project team presented last week Thursday at the 2014 Nonprofit Leadership conference. Our 7:30am breakout session was well-attended by 65 people at a sold-out conference of 500 attendees. We had excellent participation (particularly commendable at that early hour) and great follow-up questions, including one about funding. The big question is: how do you get funders—who are typically funding particular solutions to issues they deem worthy—to fund a more authentic problem-finding or problem-defining process? Some funding organizations are starting to realize that their models may need some adjusting, including local giant Bush Foundation, who has a history of strategic philanthropy.
After years of not accepting proposals from organizations, the Bush Foundation is shifting directions, and is open to trying new methods of identifying innovative community problem-solving. It's exciting to see things change on this end, so that problem-solving processes like design thinking may be able to engage and enable organizations to identify, prototype, and evaluate the effectiveness of solutions focused on the real problems presented by community members.