REPOST: How the creative economy and design thinking are transforming Philadelphia

Are we seeing the golden era of human-centered design? Across the globe, and not just in Philadelphia, innovative design is making great leaps in many businesses, helping them increase brand value and consequently, gain more revenues. Read the article below from the Philadelphia Business Journal for more insights:

Leaders of major corporations, universities, healthcare systems, and technology firms are investing heavily and integrating processes called Design-Thinking, Creative Leadership, and Human-Centered Design. With so many dollars at stake, we’re asking the very simple question, “why?”

Jefferson University and Health System acquires Philadelphia University, a design school. Why? To “start a revolution in how students are taught … so they can deliver even more value to society,” says President Stephen Klasko, “in recognition that design and healthcare are inextricably linked.” Chancellor Stephen Spinelli is bullish on “the robust value” of design and systems thinking, noting, “we’re thinking doctors who are designers…designers who are physician assistants, occupational therapists who are industrial designers…We will be an example from which a lot of people can learn.”

Electronic Ink, a design, research and content strategy firm sells to Liquid Hub a business technology solutions firm. Why? Design capabilities help Liquid Hub better “understand the human effect” of technology for clients. The firm now leverages designers, whose backgrounds range from architecture to anthropology, to do user experience and cognitive research. The result is a rich trove of data to guide design of the next product, platform and experience, a recognizable competitive advantage in the knowledge economy.

If it isn’t broken, break it,” says SEI’s CEO, Al West, on his approach to using art and creative to reinvent culture at the company every ten years. Why? Because the visionary behind the West Collection in Oaks, PA, believes a collection of 3,100 compelling contemporary art works by emerging artists—1,500 of which hang on the walls of SEI’s corporate campus at any one time—“challenges the SEI community and public to think differently about business.” With the help of Chief Marketing Officer, Mark Samuels, West has also evolved the SEI brand in ways that foster both organic and structured design-led innovation initiatives, including a new “Idea Farm,” meant to generate the next set of solutions to “drive lasting client success.”

Integral Molecular, a 16-year-old company located in uCity Square that focuses on antibody discovery for membrane protein involved in diseases such as asthma, Zika, cancer, and chronic pain engages with an artist in residence program with Orkan Telhan, Associate Professor of Fine Arts – Emerging Design Practices at University of Pennsylvania, School of Design. So why did the University City Science Center broker this “deal?” “The ability to interpret and communicate science to the larger community is an important goal of this program,” says Benjamin Doranz, President and CEO of Integral Molecular, as well as a part-time sculptor. Telhan adds he is excited to “make this invisible world more accessible to non-scientists.”

Philadelphia’s Mural Arts receives major funding from the Ford Foundation’s new $100 million Art for Justice Fund, aimed at investing in strategic efforts to reform the criminal justice system. Mural Arts’ long history of “incorporating art and social justice” has given rise to programs including the Guild, a paid apprenticeship program, giving formerly incarcerated individuals and young adults on probation the opportunity to develop job readiness skills as well assistance with access to GED and higher education support services. This funding catalyzes the launch of a major public art project in collaboration with the City of Philadelphia’s MacArthur Foundation-supported Safety and Justice Challenge initiative, a $3.5 investment in strategies that will safely reduce the average daily jail population over the next three years. The City is also doubling down in its investment in creative thinking, having recently launched a 10-month speaker series exploring strategic design and a multi-agency team called GovLabPHL using “the power and potential of human-centered design and behavioral economics to improve service delivery” across local government.

Continue reading HERE.