Positive Impact Design: Empathy + ActivismDominique Davison
Positive Impact Design: Empathy + Activism
By Dominique Davison
Empathy and activism are the core ideas of DRAW’s overall practice of Positive Impact Design. This post is the first in a series of blogs elaborating further about how DRAW creates value for our clients using these fundamental tenets.
Since DRAW’s founding, we have written and talked about empathy and activism and how they are the critical underpinnings in our work. These are concepts that many business owners increasingly see as beneficial to their culture; in a recent panel discussion for the Kansas City Business Journal, our raising of the issue of empathy resonated as a central topic for all panelists. But these ideals are not merely reserved for smaller, local businesses. In an interview with Oprah, CEO Jeff Weiner expounded upon the transformation evoked by applying these same values to the workings of his company, LinkedIn, resulting in a culture of compassion. It is encouraging that these perspectives are becoming more prevalent in the very structuring of workplaces. As businesses recognize their workforce as unique, multi-dimensional individuals, those same individuals become recognized as vital in the success of an empathetic and activist practice.
At DRAW, empathy and activism mean that we listen deeply to our clients and then act boldly on their behalf. It means listening to city planners, neighborhood leaders, and other constituents that have unique insights. We want to collaborate in a way that strengthens client ownership in the process and incorporates their values into the design. In our desired outcome, we find it crucial to serve everyone’s perspectives and build support and excitement around a shared vision. Bringing our expertise, we seek to elevate the sense of place and illustrate how a well-designed space contributes to mental, emotional, and physical wellness, whether the project is a home, workplace, recreational experience, or community.
This holistic process has brought us successful partnerships with various clients and developers, leading to projects imparting a positive impact all over the world. And as we move forward, we commit to continuous improvement and cultivating open dialogue with our client – and our community – in a way that creates genuinely inspiring designs.