My thesis explores the eld of Social Impact Design and determines a methodology that designers can leverage to design with better impact.
Addressing highly complex issues requires a multidisciplinary approach. When design is incorporated into the problem-solving process, its human-centered principles and methodologies lead to stronger solutions. Social issues such as poverty, unemployment, homelessness, caste system, sexual harassment, and gender inequality are associated with Wicked Problems. These Wicked Problems–like economic, environmental, political, and bureaucratic issues–create even more intricate global dilemmas. Understanding these extremely complex issues and applying design thought process, allows for even greater strides toward making an impact.
Design needs to be practiced not just in form, function, and aesthetics but also with an added sense of responsibility and purpose. This concept of design with a social conscience and an intent to make an impact, is something that needs to be recognized more by design students.
Through extensive research, I have identified a methodology that allows designers to efficiently implement the principles of Social Impact Design, and design solutions with better impact.
One of the tangible outcomes of my thesis is a framework of a mobile application for designers. Through the use of interaction and user experience design, the app will enable designers to: access a curated list of creative processes; experience social issues and associated wicked problems through a challenging activity; showcase and discuss their design strategy, plan, and ideation; connect with like-minded individuals and execute their solutions; lead by example and inspire others to get involved.
My thesis aims to be effective in mobilizing and collating information about social impact design and to help improve community strength. Whether or not my thesis produces the desired effect, the knowledge and experience derived, is extremely valuable in my pursuit of Design for Social Impact.
Library of Congress Subject Headings
Design--Moral and ethical aspects; Design--Social aspects; Social problems; Mobile apps--Development
Visual Communication Design (MFA)
Department, Program, or Center
School of Design (CIAS)
Mishra, Vineet, "KARMA: Design for Social Impact Toolkit" (2016). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
RIT – Main Campus