Design for Social Innovation

Published by Routledge

Andrew co-edited this book that celebrates the many heterogeneous and dynamic forms of how designers engage critical challenges in their communities, cultures, and countries. We helped to develop and shape this 418-page book. Here's an overview:

Grounded by a worldwide survey in sectors as diverse as public health, urban planning, economic development, education, humanitarian response, cultural heritage, and civil rights, Design For Social Innovation: Case Studies from Around the World captures these stories and more through 45 richly illustrated case studies from six continents.


Table of Contents

Rather than presenting a singular definition of “design for social innovation,” the book celebrates the many heterogeneous and dynamic forms of how designers engage critical challenges in their communities, cultures, and countries. With this commitment towards pluralism, case studies were selected to include diverse geographies, showcase different funding and organizational models, and a broad spectrum of design disciplines, social issues, and design outputs. The focus was on the evidence of impact, instead of scale. Cases were gathered through a bottom-up approach, leveraging social media and the expertise of an international editorial advisory board.


Spiro Wave case study – Expanding hospitals' ability to care for COVID-19 patients in USA


Boxing Future Health case study – Cultivating a discussion about the future of health in Denmark


Solo Kota Kita case study — Strengthening participatory budgeting in Indonesia


Roundtable discussions


Flower Diagram Key


Case Studies

From the work presented in the case studies, the editorial team pulled out seven emerging themes that provide the spine for the book’s seven sections: Geographies of power, Trajectories of International development, Organizing the work, Navigating partnerships, Mediums of change, Measuring impact, and Positioning for growth. In turn, these themes are anchored by a dynamic set of reflections in roundtable discussions between leading practitioners and educators who amplify the case studies with insights from their scholarship and/or lived experiences and practices.

Piecing together learnings from across the globe, the book addresses critical and practicable questions. What are the business models behind social innovation projects? Who are the organizations investing in the field? What evidence do we have of impact by design? How is this work similar or different around the world? It presents a truly global overview of the cultural, economic, and organizational levers propelling design for social innovation forward today.


Flower Diagram Key to help decipher each custom "flower" diagram used for each project. Image ©

‘All in all, without being pretentious, idealizing, or hiding its vulnerabilities, this book serves as a veritable design for social innovation compendium... The book is available for open access consultation and learning to widen our knowledge of the field and its subtleties so that we may develop collective trust, learn from each other’s failures and resilience, increase the legitimacy of design for social innovation enough to earn a seat at the table where decisions are made, communicate outcomes via diverse trusted mediums, and enhance practice among others. It is a read for all. Equally valuable and useful for students and new and well-seasoned practitioners, whether they already work in design for social innovation or want to move into the field. The entire collection is exceptionally well organized and clear, offering information in all shades of grey, written and visual―as much a very enjoyable read as a rigorous one!’

reviewed by Carolina Escobar-Tello, She Ji: The Journal of Design, Economics, and Innovation



Mariana Amatullo, Bryan Boyer, Jennifer May, Andrew Shea

Graphic Design

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