Media Impact Focus: Design Thinking Philanthropy

Following our first Media Impact Forum in January and our most recent Media Impact Forum at the Ford Foundation we went back to the West Coast for our first Media Impact Focus: Design Thinking Philanthropy. This convening was generously supported by Microsoft.

Read the Storify from the day.

Some resources from the Social Innovation Session:

What’s Next For Philanthropy

Tactical Philanthropy

Kevin Starr writing for SSIR

Embrace (group and product that came out of the

Old Masters and Young Geniuses, David Galenson


Resources from John Cary’s remarks:

HCD Connect

Public Interest Design



Join us at the at Stanford University where we’ll learn about how philanthropy can embrace the process of designing for social change. You’ll also hear from practitioners and funder peers about their efforts to bring experimentation, innovation, testing, iteration and scale to their philanthropic work in media, technology and social innovation.

Welcome and framing 

Vince Stehle / Executive Director, Media Impact Funders

Emily Pilloton / Founder and Executive Director, Project H Design

Design Thinking Philanthropy – Introduction and Exercises

In this hands-on introduction, we’ll learn about the’s approach to human-centered design, and what philanthropy as a field can learn from design thinking though presentation, discussion and guided exercises.

Nadia Roumani / Fellow (2012-13)

Justin Ferrell / Fellowships Director


Hear about the recent transmedia campaign to increase the number of people signed up to be organ donors.

Marc Smolowitz / Director and Producer, The Power of Two

Kim Spencer / Senior Programming Executive, KCETLink


Participants will gather in small groups to explore applications of design thinking in three related areas of work: Media Innovation, Social Innovation and Technology Innovation.

Media Innovation

How do we design innovative solutions for journalism in a time of enormous change within the industry? This conversation will be led by experts at the center of efforts to change the way journalism and media philanthropy operate. We’ll hear about their process of change and program design, and explore implications for the field.

James Bettinger / Director, John S. Knight Journalism Fellowships at Stanford

David Rousseau / Vice President, Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

Social Innovation

At the heart of social innovation is experimentation, risk, re-imagining and learning. Hear from a funder and social innovator about their uses of design thinking in their work.

Jessamyn Lau / Program Leader, Peery Foundation

Heather Fleming / Founder and CEO, Catapult Design

Technology Innovation

Technology innovation is often the driving force behind social and media innovation. Hear how tech is changing how we connect, learn, engage and advocate. And confer with experts about how best to support technology innovation through philanthropic support and investment.

Erin Polgreen / Program Strategist, Philanthropic Investments, Voqal

Steve Goldbloom / Innovation and Business Development Manager, ITVS 

Emily Goligoski / Product + Design Researcher, Open Badges Project, Mozilla Foundation 


Innovation spotlight and wrap-up

Come back together to see projects that are pulling together key elements of what we’ll learn throughout the day, share observations and set a course for what the field can do moving forward. Hear from progressive change investor Christie George about her efforts – and the challenges she’s faced – in sparking social change through media engagement. We’ll build on these stories and draw from the breakout sessions to identify overlapping issues, common themes, and critical observations for our work going forward.

Christie George / Director, New Media Ventures 

John Cary / Executive Director, Autodesk Impact Design Foundation


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