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If You Want to Change Your Community, You Need to Know Who You Are

Building stronger communities through innovative work can only happen if you tell the truth about who you are.

The sixth week of the Pathfinder Fellowship brought us to the HUB LA, which is a loft space in Downtown Los Angeles that's been redesigned into a creative work space where individuals can go and collaborate. While there, we participated in two separate workshops designed to support and expand our newly developed communication skills.

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Like many who read GOOD, I’ve been fascinated by the explosion of design projects that explicitly work toward positive social impact. I saw this rise of so-called "social impact design" firsthand as development manager at Public Architecture, where I built programs, wrote grants, and contributed to books highlighting this work. But now that I'm back in school working toward a masters of architecture, I've realized that there are precious few opportunities to actually build a career around social impact design.

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It's 4:45 a.m. A Guatemalan day laborer wakes up in his Staten Island home that was damaged during Hurricane Sandy. By 5:45 a.m. he needs to be at the same street corner where he always waits for contractors when they come by looking for workers. It's dark and rainy outside, and he'll be soaked by the time he's picked up. It's no way to start a day and just one of many reasons why permanent hiring halls are needed, and have been an goal of one New York City organization since it first started.

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The Future of Stuff: The Global Breaker Challenge

How do you redesign manufacturing in 14 days? Students in teams around the world are trying to figure this out now in the Breaker Challenge...

How do you redesign manufacturing in 14 days? Students in teams around the world are trying to figure this out now in the Breaker Challenge 2013—focused on the way consumers can become producers. Project Breaker lead Juliette LaMontagne explains:

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My name is Peter Smart and I recently travelled 2,517 miles to try and solve 50 Problems in 50 Days using design. This journey would take me from the bustling streets of London to the cobbled lanes of Turin to test design’s ability to solve social problems—big and small.
On my own shoestring budget, I set out into the complete unknown. Each day I had 24 hours to find, solve and communicate the solution to a problem I had observed that day.
Each day was an immense exercise in design thinking. Some days my solutions were okay, some days I failed, some days the solutions were great. However, the objective was not to succeed everyday, but to get up and try again, even when I had failed the day before.
The adventure taught me an unbelievable amount about design’s power to solve problems and my own capacities as a designer. Importantly, it honed my ability to think through and tackle problems rapidly.
I developed a raft of tools to help me do so. However, one skill that underpinned a vital part of my process was the ability to observe: to go beyond simply “looking” in order to truly see.
This was certainly the case on day 28.

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