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High Altitude Expectations


Day three of the Aspen Design Summit found the brain trust buzzing with energy (no doubt due to the brain food of the night before), as the studio groups scurried to prepare their three-minute presentations. You can read more about the challenges issued to participants here. Of note:

Two of the three Educational Innovation presentations were strong and implementable. The first group presented the Design Lunchbox, a series of design-based activities to help students manufacture their school experience. The group lead by Marc Ecko sent him as their spokesperson, and in his signature keyed-up demeanor, stormed the stage with Big Fat F, their proposed campaign to use “outrage” about the state of schools to inspire action.

In Sustainable Community Development, a community Tool Shed was proposed to provide a center where citizens could go to help improve their community’s infrastructure. And YOU Orleans, a program that would repurpose materials damaged by Katrina into New Orleans-specific products, took participants outside to a chalked theater-in-the-round for one of the most memorable and inventive presentations.

Social Enterpreneurship broke into six small groups, which all seemed to focus on two major themes: to bring technology to developing nations (light, electronics, an odd presentation with Ann Willoughby entering on a bike, sans squab heads), or to bring design resources to the organizations already active in those countries. The big idea for multiple presentations focused on creating a clearinghouse where designers and students could be matched with organizations or causes that needed their help. This seemed to be an ideal action item based on the presenters’ model; the relationship between IDE and Stanford’s D-School.

A matching program also feels like a unique service that the Aspen Design Summit could provide–imagine if leaders from non-profits, NGOs, fundraisers, foundations could come to Aspen every year knowing that the greatest designers and design thinkers would be there to connect with?

Photo courtesy of Core77, who once again has great coverage of day three.

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