AIGA Philadelphia awarded two AIGA Innovate grants

AIGA Philadelphia awarded two AIGA Innovate grants

AIGA Philadelphia is proud to announce that we have received not one, but two AIGA Innovate grants for special initiative projects, which will have a significant impact on our local and national design community.

About AIGA Innovate

AIGA Innovate is a four-year long fund with up to $250,000 to be awarded each year. Established in 2015, it aims to support and empower members and chapters in a whole new way. The program is an exchange platform through which AIGA can learn about their membership, improve the sustainability and leadership challenges of chapters, and further integrate the relationship of designers to their respective communities.

AIGA Innovate supports critical, relevant, and ground-breaking projects at AIGA chapters across the country, which demonstrates AIGA’s core values: leadership, design excellence, impact, and equity. Projects upgrade the member experience and promote collaboration amongst members and their chapters, with potential rollout to the wider network.

It is an opportunity for chapters to positively impact local communities beyond design by developing and prototyping exciting projects that deepen relationships with business, enterprises, and social ecosystems while fostering the entrepreneurial spirit of their members. Ultimately, it’s an opportunity to further AIGA’s mission: to advance design as a professional craft, strategic advantage, and vital cultural force.

Our Innovate projects

AIGA Regional Design Leadership Summits Initiative

As the role of the designer is changing and increasingly becoming elevated in businesses and organizations, critical leadership skills will be key to designers’ success. With the AIGA Regional Design Leadership Summits initiative, we want to instill confidence in designers of the AIGA community to see themselves as skilled decision makers, innovative problem solvers, and inspirational motivators for change. By helping designers grow in core leadership and strategy skills, we will be helping to prepare them for a long-term career path that extends beyond the traditional role of designer. Companies and studios are now looking to designers for what they can contribute to business strategy, product design and innovative design thinking. This training will be an essential step in preparing designers to succeed in this role.

Through the collaboration of several local AIGA chapters, the AIGA Regional Design Leadership Summits will train designers in strategies, processes, and tools to meet the challenges ahead of them. The summits will be 2–3 days in length and feature keynote sessions with innovative leaders in design and business, as well as intimate, interactive workshops on topics related to leading in a creative enterprise. The first regional summit will be piloted in the Philadelphia area in the summer of 2018. We will then develop a comprehensive toolkit for an official launch of the program nationally for implementation by AIGA chapters in other regions.

AIGA Youth Diversity in Design Program – An Education, Community and Mentorship Initiative

The ethnic and racial makeup of the United States is changing and becoming more diverse. In contrast, the 2016 Design Census of the design profession revealed that 73 percent of those surveyed identified as white, 9 percent as Hispanic, 8 percent as Asian, and only 3 percent as black.

To ultimately change the landscape of the design industry to become more inclusive and to increase diversity in our field, we have a responsibility as an organization to approach this in a multi-strategy way. It cannot be done by hiring practices alone. We need to start reaching young minority students at an early age to expose them to design—letting them know that it’s a feasible career path for them. By providing diverse role models, opportunities for education, access to technology and awareness of creative career opportunities in low income, minority communities, we have an opportunity to start ensuring that kids from these areas realize their creative potential. Through the AIGA Youth Diversity in Design Program, we would aim to reach this population and broaden the range of perspectives of future design practitioners and leaders.

With the pilot launch of this program in the summer of 2018, eight to twelve Philadelphia-based low-income, minority students, grades 6–8, will participate in an 8-week long program featuring a series of design skill and thinking workshops with a team of AIGA volunteers. Students will learn core principles of design and will personally experience the answer to the following question: What is the power of design?

Our greatest hope is that participating kids will use design as an agent of personal change. If one student finds a future in design as a way of changing their personal trajectory, that one personal choice could ignite change in others in their community. Students can be empowered to look at the world through a problem solving lens, becoming future thought leaders for their communities.


Want to volunteer for these initiatives?

Do you want to make an impact and help us develop these programs? We are assembling committees for each initiative and are looking for volunteers that can dedicate their time and talents to help us implement these programs. Please contact Lauren Dougherty with your interest or questions.

By aigaphiladelphia
Published July 28, 2017