Projects specifically designed to directly benefit social, humanitarian, community or environmental causes. Examples include: community or environmental impact initiatives, products for underrepresented communities, distribution systems, disaster relief, etc.
Emily Pilloton is the founder of the nonprofit Project H Design. Since 2008, she has run Project H and worked with young people ages 9-18 to bring the power of design and building to schools and communities. Emily is trained as an architect with degrees from UC Berkeley and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, but found that she is physically incapable of working in an office or for a boss and much prefers the creative chaos of a public school classroom filled with tools and welding equipment. Project H Design was born out of the hope that authentic, on-the-ground, face-to-face work with young people could transform what it means to be a design professional, what it means to learn in the 21st century, and what it means to get dirty and physically build solutions for your community.
Specifically, Emily launched 2 Project H programs: Studio H, an in-school design/build curriculum, and Camp H, an after-school and summer building camp for young girls ages 9-13. Exploring the intersection of science, art, math, and community development, Emily has led Project H youth in the design and construction of an award-winning 2,000-square-foot farmers market structure, chicken coops, playgrounds, their own school library, microhomes for the homeless, laser-etched skateboards, and welded steel public sculpture.
Emily believes that by giving youth, particularly girls and students of color, the skills to design and build their wildest ideas, we can support the next generation of creative, confident changemakers. Her ideas and work have made their way to the TED Stage, The Colbert Report, the New York Times, and more. Her work is the subject of the full-length documentary If You Build It. She is the author of two books, Design Revolution: 100 Products that Empower People, and Tell Them I Built This: Transforming Schools, Communities, and Lives with Design-Based Education. Emily is also a Visiting Professor in the Department of Design at UC Davis.
John Bielenberg is a designer, entrepreneur, and imaginative advocate for creating a better world through the application of creativity and ingenuity. John co-founded Future Partners, a Silicon Valley Innovation firm, in 2012 to teach Rapid Ingenuity Practices to individuals, teams, and organizations around the world. In 2001, John co-founded C2 Group, a brand strategy firm, to help leaders from technology start ups, Fortune 500 companies, and the world’s top business management consulting firms develop, build and protect their brands. In his career, John has won more than 250 design awards, including the AIGA (American Institute of Graphic Arts) Gold Medal for lifetime achievement.
Innovator, artist, protagonist, and positive provocateur, Maria has pursued a vision of intelligent, elegant, people-centered design throughout her professional life. Her grasp of the pragmatic, the authentic, and the essential have kept her at the forefront of design and business for over 25 years.
Under Maria’s leadership, Hot Studio, the experience design firm she founded in 1997, grew into a full-service creative agency with an impressive list of Fortune 500 clients. In March 2013, Facebook acquired the talent behind Hot Studio. In 2015, she joined Autodesk as VP, Experience Design. Her latest book, Rise of the DEO: Leadership by Design, is published by New Riders. Maria is an AIGA Design Fellow. She has spoken at conferences all over the world and currently serves as an adjunct professor and trustee at California College of the Arts in San Francisco. Maria is a mom to two amazing teenagers, and just recently, was ordained as a Minister at the Universal Life Church.
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