Design + Social Impact
A Workshop in Cairo
Keywords:social impact, Egypt, entrepreneur, design strategy
In October 2018, the US Embassy in Cairo, Egypt invited Parsons professors John Bruce and Mark Randall to give an intensive, five-day workshop on critical areas for those interested in taking a design-strategy approach for entrepreneurial or intrapreneurial ventures addressing complex social challenges. This type of cultural exchange, one potentially charged with political issues, was a milestone for the Embassy. From over 200 applications, 25 professionals from diverse backgrounds – NGOs, education, film, design, architecture and performance – were selected to attend. A pre-workshop exercise focused intentions; themes included empowerment, cities, health and culture. All were action-oriented and addressed particular challenges within Egyptian society. The curriculum included innovative design-led research theories and practicable methods. Immediate outcomes revealed positive shifts in perspectives on systems, stakeholder activation, and narrative development for advocacy and implementation. The energy and emotion was palpable over the course of the week, culminating in an event for the public, press and top government officials.