Companies / Organizations / Foundations

The Nordic Frugal Innovation Society, FINLAND


The Nordic Frugal Innovation Society is a non profit association registered in Finland. TNFIS wants businesses to respond to limitations in resources; whether financial, material or institutional, and turn these constraints into innovative ideas and practical solutions.

We believe that slow growth or no growth in developed economies along with environmental constraints, rapidly ageing societies and various structural problems will increase demands for more frugal models of production and consumption and will require radical new models in areas such as health care, social care and other aspects that affect directly or indirectly everyday life. This will increase demands for frugal innovation techniques along with the products and services associated with them.

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, USA

Bill & Melinda Gates

We are focused on the areas of greatest need, on the ways in which we can do the most good.From poverty to health, to education, our areas of focus offer the opportunity to dramatically improve the quality of life for billions of people. So we build partnerships that bring together resources, expertise, and vision—working with the best organizations around the globe to identify issues, find answers, and drive change.



IDEO is an award-winning global design firm that takes a human-centered, design-based approach to helping organizations in the public and private sectors innovate and grow. We identify new ways to serve and support people by uncovering latent needs, behaviors, and desires. We envision new companies and brands, and we design the products, services, spaces, and interactive experiences that bring them to life. We help organizations build creative culture and the internal systems required to sustain innovation and launch new ventures.

The Rockefeller Foundation, USA

Rockefeller Foundation

The Rockefeller Foundation’s mission—unchanged since 1913—is to promote the well-being of humanity throughout the world. Today, we pursue this mission through dual goals: advancing inclusive economies that expand opportunities for more broadly shared prosperity, and building resilience by helping people, communities and institutions prepare for, withstand, and emerge stronger from acute shocks and chronic stresses. To achieve these goals, we work at the intersection of four focus areas—advance health,revalue ecosystems, secure livelihoods, and transform cities—to address the root causes of emerging challenges and create systemic change. Together with partners and grantees, The Rockefeller Foundation strives to catalyze and scale transformative innovations, create unlikely partnerships that span sectors, and take risks others cannot.

Continuum, USA


Diverse, Disciplined, Dynamic: Continuum is a global innovation and design consultancy. For three decades, the company focus has been to help organizations drive business innovation through the design of products, services and experiences that become part of the fabric of people’s lives.

Hyperakt Studio, USA


Hyperakt is a social impact design studio that seeks projects that allow them to create meaningful design for the common good. “To boil it down,” Deroy said, “we try to help change-makers tell their story…We need to identify with the mission of our clients to feel like we’re doing something that’s a positive contribution to the world.” If you’re wondering whether that makes work hard to come by, the answer is no. There are just as many ‘big clients’ in the non-profit sector as there are anywhere else. In fact, Hyperakt regularly turns down jobs simply because the client’s mission isn’t in line with their own. “It’s a lot easier to make something awesome when you believe in what you’re doing,” said Deroy.

Loop Studio, CANADA

Loop Studio

A small but mighty creative studio with aspirations to improve the world through design.

Engineers without borders, CANADA

Engineers Without Borders

Engineers Without Borders helps people in developing countries use technology to improve their lives.

It is a social change incubator for people, ventures and ideas. We spark and accelerate systemic innovations in Canada and Africa that have the potential to radically disrupt the systems that allow poverty to persist.

Osisu Contemporary Vernacular Design Studio, THAILAND


OSISU produces functional art that integrates local crafts and skilled carpentry with contemporary aesthetics. Each model of OSISU is pure passion, hand-crafted from materials left to waste at construction sites, manufacturing facilities or local communities.

New Cities Foundation, FRANCE

New Cities Foundation

We envision a world where cities drive economic, social and environmental progress.

Our mission is to shape a better urban future for all by generating and scaling ideas and solutions through events, research and urban innovation projects.

In all of our activities, we work with leaders from business, government, academia, civil society, the media and the arts.

Together Agency, BRAZIL

Together Brazil

Together is an agency based in São Paulo, Brazil, with an office in Rio de Janeiro, focused on unleashing social change by mobilizing and engaging people, companies, and organizations in causes of high social impact.

Its specialties are creative content development, social engagement strategy, organizational and brand strategy, digital platform design and implementation

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  • Design for the Real World: Human Ecology and Social Change
  • Change by Design:  How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations and Inspires Innovation
  • Design for the other 90%
  • World changing: A User’s Guide for the 21st Century
  • This is Service Design Thinking
  • Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Eradicating Poverty Through Profits
  • Design Like You Give a Damn: Architectural Responses to Humanitarian Crises
  • Looks good, Feels good, Is good
  • Design for the Real World: Human Ecology and Social Change
  • Papanek, Victor (1971). Design for the Real World: Human Ecology and Social Change, New York, Pantheon Books

Design for the Real World

Design for the Real World

Design for the Real World has, since its first appearance twenty-five years ago, become a classic. Translated into twenty-three languages, it is one of the world’s most widely read books on design. In this edition, Victor Papanek examines the attempts by designers to combat the tawdry, the unsafe, the frivolous, the useless product, once again providing a blueprint for sensible, responsible design in this world which is deficient in resources and energy.

Purchase at Amazon

Change by Design:  How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations and Inspires Innovation

Brown, Tim (2009). Change by Design, Harper Collins. ISBN: 9780061766084

Change by Design

This book introduces design thinking, the collaborative process by which the designer’s sensibilities and methods are employed to match people’s needs with what is technically feasible and a viable business strategy. In short, design thinking converts need into demand. It’s a human-centered approach to problem solving that helps people and organizations become more innovative and creative.

Purchase at Amazon

Design for the other 90%

Design for the 90%

Smith, Cynthia (2007). Design for the other 90%, New York, Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum

The book explores more than 30 projects which reflect the growing movement among designers, engineers, students and professors, architects, and social entrepreneurs to design low-cost solutions for this other 90%. Through partnerships both local and global, individuals and organizations around the United States and throughout the world are inventing unique ways to provide better access to food, water, shelter, health, education and energy to those who most need them. Published in conjunction with a major exhibition at the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, Design for the Other 90% contains more than a dozen essays by leading experts in the field, accompanied by 200 full-color illustrations, to highlight a wide variety of design innovations that address the basic challenges of survival and progress faced by the world’s poor and marginalized.

Purchase at Amazon

Worldchanging: A User’s Guide for the 21st Century

Alex Steffen (2006). World changing: A User’s Guide for the 21st Century, New York, Harry N. Abrams


Written by a collaborative of leading thinkers across a diverse range of industries, “Worldchanging” demonstrates that the means for building a better future lie all around us. Filled with information, resources, reviews and ideas, “Worldchanging” gives readers access to the tools they need to make a difference. Each chapter offers practical answers to important questions, such as: Why does buying locally produced food make sense? What steps can we take to influence our workplace toward sustainability? How do we volunteer and advocate more effectively? How can we travel, live, work and learn in worldchanging ways? And how, in short, can every human being help build a better future locally and globally?Illustrated with colour photographs throughout and designed by Stefan Sagmeister, one of the most influential graphic designers working today, “Worldchanging” proves that a life that is sustainable, prosperous, thoughtful and democratic, dynamic and peaceful, is not just possible, it’s here.

Purchase at Amazon | Official Website 

This is Service Design Thinking

Marc Stickdorn, Jakob Schneider and the co-authors (2011). This is Service Design thinking, The Netherlands, BIS Publishers

This is Service Design Thinking

This Is Service Design Thinking combines the knowledge of twenty-three international authors and even more online contributors from the global service design community and is divided into three sections:

Basics: outlines service design thinking along five basic principles
Tools: describing a variety of tools and methods used in Service Design Thinking
Cases: vivid examples for the introduced fundamentals with real-life case studies from 5 companies that did inspiring projects within the field of Service Design

Purchase at Amazon | Official Website

The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Eradicating Poverty Through Profits

K Prahalad (2005). Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Eradicating Poverty Through Profits, Upper Saddle River, Wharton school Publishing

The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Eradicating Poverty Through Profits

The world’s most exciting, fastest-growing new market is where you least expect it: at the bottom of the pyramid. Collectively, the world’s billions of poor people have immense untapped buying power. They represent an enormous opportunity for companies who learn how to serve them. The book offers a blueprint for driving the radical innovation you’ll need to profit in emerging markets–and using those innovations to become more competitive “everywhere.” It includes eleven concise, fast-paced success stories from India, Peru, Mexico, Brazil, and Venezuela–ranging from salt to soap, banking to cellphones, healthcare to housing. These stories are backed by more detailed case studies and 10 hours of digital videos on Simply put, this book is about making a revolution: building profitable “bottom of the pyramid” markets, reducing poverty, and creating an inclusive capitalism that works for “everyone.”

Purchase at Amazon

Design Like You Give a Damn: Architectural Responses to Humanitarian Crises

Architecture for Humanity (2006). Design Like You Give a Damn: Architectural Responses to Humanitarian Crises, New York, Metropolis Books

Design Like You Give a Damn

Design Like You Give a Damn is the first book to gather projects conceived and executed by architects and designers under the aegis of Architecture for Humanity, a relief organization dedicated to promoting architectural and design solutions to global, social and humanitarian crises. The book showcases about forty projects from the past decade, including schemes in Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iran, with detailed descriptions for each, illustrated by stunning colour photographs and architectural drawings.

Purchase at Amazon

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Exhibitions / Events

Design for Social Impact

Design for Social Impact

Based on the idea that design is a way of looking at the world with an eye for changing it, Design for Social Impact offered a look at how designers, engineers, students, professors, architects and social entrepreneurs from the Southeastern United States are using design to solve the problems of the 21st century.

The exhibition—which was on show at MODA from April 25 – August 3, 2014—included projects by Georgia Tech Students, Plywood People, Stanford’s d-School, MIT’s D-Lab, Stryker, Michael Graves, Interface, Steelcase, Mad Housers, Auburn University and many others.

Taipei exhibition focuses on social impact of design

Taipei exhibition focuses on social impact of design

The focus of this year’s exhibit is the social impact of design, particularly ways in which design can contribute to society.The exhibit seeks to encourage domestic design by bringing in famous international designs and providing opportunities for designers to interact.

Social Impact Design Summit

Social Impact Design Summit

On February 27, 2012, leaders from design, academia, the community, and both public and private sectors will meet in New York at the Social Impact Design Summit. We want to use this event as a chance to broaden the discussion about the current and future state of socially responsible design.The Summit is planned in partnership with Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, The Lemelson Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Socially responsible design covers a broad range of design disciplines. As foundations and organizations interested in this topic, we are still learning about the players and pieces that sustain this area of design. We organized this small gathering to learn and hear from people who engage in this work every day.

Design for life. 99 projects for the real world

Design for life. 99 projects for the real world

Design enables us to constantly, consistently, solve problems that generate great social impact. In this show, we focus on design that is expressly aimed at improving the lives of the users it is intended for, the environment in which it operates and the society to which it belongs.

Small Scale, Big Change: New Architectures of Social Engagement

Small Scale, Big Change: New Architectures of Social Engagement

This exhibition presents eleven architectural projects on five continents that respond to localized needs in underserved communities. These innovative designs signal a renewed sense of commitment, shared by many of today’s practitioners, to the social responsibilities of architecture.

This Is for Everyone: Design Experiments for the Common Good

This Is for Everyone: Design Experiments for the Common Good

This exhibition takes its title from the Twitter message that British computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee (inventor of the World Wide Web) used to light up the stadium at the 2012 London Olympics opening ceremonies. His buoyant tweet highlighted the way that the Internet—perhaps the most radical social design experiment of the last quarter century—has created limitless possibilities for the discovery, sharing, and expansion of knowledge and information.

Designing Modern Women 1890–1990

Designing Modern Women 1890–1990

20th-century design was profoundly shaped and enhanced by the creativity of women—as muses of modernity and shapers of new ways of living, and as designers, patrons, performers, and educators. This installation, drawn entirely from MoMA’s collection, celebrates the diversity and vitality of individual artists’ approach to the modern world, from Loïe Fuller’s pulsating turn-of-the-century performances to April Greiman’s 1980s computer-generated graphics, at the vanguard of early digital design.

The “Design for Flood” project

The “Design for Flood” project

It was a creative collaboration of designers initiated by TCDC. Using “design thinking” as framework, the project team conducted field survey to determine the problems and real needs of the people, volunteers and SMEs affected by the 2011 flood within Bangkok Metropolitan area and vicinity.

Impact Hub Munich

Impact Hub Munich

The social Design Elevation Days 2015 want to address that subject by converting the Impact Hub Munich for five Days into the European anchor – and pivoting point of social design.

Social Design? Social Innovation? What exactly does that mean? Which approach, what practice and what potential is behind this? The social Design Elevation Days 2015 want to address that subject by converting the Impact Hub Munich for five Days into the European anchor – and pivoting point of social design.
Exemplary projects from the most diverse areas, an exhibition, the main actors and key figures will be present in Munich these days. Each day of the event will be dedicated to a different motto – so for example, architecture, migration, products, design, behavioral changes and many more will be addressed.

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