frog is honored to accept an International Design Excellence Award (IDEA) from the International Designers Society of America (IDSA) http://idsa.org/idea-2013-design-strategy. IDEA is recognized as the preeminent international design competition and referred to as “the Oscars of Design.” frog's Collective Action Toolkit received a Bronze in the Design Strategy category.
The Collective Action Toolkit is for community leaders who want to bring together groups that want to solve problems in their community, while gaining valuable skills and knowledge along the way. It's for groups that want to make a desired change for the better.
Developed specifically for non-designers, the CAT encourages problem solving as a form of skill development with activities that draw on each participant’s strengths and perspectives in pursuit of a common goal. The CAT’s emphasis on action challenges groups to align, describe, and evolve solutions that fit their communities. Regardless of the size of the challenge, the activities in CAT can help groups investigate and generate solutions, pool knowledge, and connect to resources.
The toolkit is used worldwide by over 10,000 problem solvers and counting—most of whom would never have called themselves designers. This includes community groups, nonprofits, foundations, NGOs, governments, startups, public schools, colleges and universities, and corporations around the globe.
The Collective Action Toolkit is currently available for free download from frog in English and Simplified Chinese, and can be adapted by anyone via a Creative Commons license upon request at firstname.lastname@example.org. A universal Spanish edition will be out this summer.
In addition, we've embarked on a series of pilot programs and workshops to see how the CAT can be best used in local communities. For example: In order to better understand the potential value of group problem-solving in the high school classroom, we conducted a 10-week pilot program with the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) Design for Sustainability program, in partnership with Design Ethos, Gatorball Academy, and teachers and classes at Beach, Groves, and Savannah High Schools. The results of this pilot program will be shared soon.
Our current pilot program, which we kicked off in May, is a youth expedition program with Chinese social innovation incubator ECSEL to help China's students use design/tech/business to solve the country's social issues. We handpicked the best students in China, held a design research training workshop, and will hold a CAT training workshop in July to equip the students with the right tools. Then the students will travel across China via train to identify, design, and prototype solutions to solve the social issue of their choice—lack of proper healthcare for China's elderly, lack of support for migrant workers, and environmental issues. The expedition will end in Lhasa, Tibet where the students will present their final solutions and seek investors to make their ideas real.
David Sherwin is an interaction design director at frog. He has built his reputation as a design leader, interaction designer, and researcher with 17 years of experience in generating compelling solutions for systemic business problems. David is the author of Creative Workshop: 80 Challenges to Sharpen Your Design Skills and Success by Design: The Essential Business Reference for Designers. You can follow David on Twitter @changeorder.