Business, Power and Social Impact

Many design agencies start out with aspirations of transforming the world to create products and services that connect with people who need them the most. Yet many find it challenging, if not impossible, to balance the type of work they want to create with the work that clients pay to them. In this webinar we connect three leading international design agencies who each are carving out their own way of driving mission aligned work to discuss social impact, purpose lead design and the power that design agencies can have in shaping community, politics and society.

07 July 2021
11:00 pm - 12:00 am


In this one hour conversation moderated by Mindy Leow from B Lab Australia & New Zealand, you’ll hear from the following leaders who are actively working in design agencies today.

  • George Aye, Greater Good Studio, Chicago
  • Ivy Teng Lei, Exygy, San Francisco
  • Andrew Apostola, Portable, Melbourne

What we'll cover

In this hour-long webinar we will cover the challenges and opportunities that face design agencies operating today across the world, specifically in trying to bring about social impact in the communities they work with. The traditional agency model means that most of the time creatives spend their time working on outcomes that are shaped by the needs of clients. How do you even start to attract and tackle the type of work that will have an impact, especially when bills need to be paid? The spectrum of “impact” is also very broad: how do you measure impact in your own context and measure it?

In this webinar we’ll cover:

  • What exactly is “mission aligned work” and how do you speak about it to the people you work with?
  • The design agency model and how it works differently at each of the agencies represented on the panel
  • The challenges of applying design to the types of sectors that need it
  • What the future might look like over the next five years

About our speakers

George Aye, Founder, Greater Good Studio, Chicago USA

George Aye is a founding partner at Greater Good Studio, and Assistant Professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, in the Architecture, Interior Architecture and Designed Objects. As Design Director at Greater Good, he is responsible for translating user-centered design research into tangible design outcomes in the form of printed materials, software interfaces, hardware and software interactions, environments and user-centered experiences.

Previously Lead Designer at the Chicago Transit Authority, George was responsible for designing the complete new rider experience for the CTA's Bus Rapid Transit proposal in 2008. Prior to the CTA, George was a designer at IDEO Chicago for 7 years where he worked on projects that spanned multiple sectors and industries from healthcare, consumer electronics, contract furniture, disease management and consumer packaged goods. He has two books published (IDEO Eyes Open London and Eyes Open New York, published by Chronicle Books in 2008).

George Aye was born in Rangoon, Burma and he has a B. Eng in Engineering Design Visualization from Bournemouth University, UK, 1998.

To find out more about the Greater Good Studio, visit their website here.

Ivy Teng Lei, Head of Growth, Exygy, San Francisco

Exygy partners with social impact organizations to build and design technology to improve lives. For 14 years, they have worked in affordable housing, education, and community health in order to build healthy and resilient communities. Ivy currently lives in San Francisco and works at Exygy leading growth, marketing, and business development while continuing to uplift immigrants and refugees outside of her 9-to-5. She is a native New Yorker who lived in the US as an undocumented immigrant for 22+ years. She is an op-ed contributor in The Guardian and has appeared on NBC, Fox, ABC, NY Times, NPR, BBC UK, and other major news platforms. She serves as the Board President of ImmSchools, a nonprofit organization that works with K-12 educators to transform schools into safe and welcoming spaces for undocumented students and families.

To find out more about Exygy, visit their website here.

Andrew Apostola, CEO, Portable, Melbourne Australia

Andrew Apostola is the CEO and co-founder of Portable, a purpose lead tech and design company founded in Melbourne, Australia. Portable uses design and technology to help organisations transform the way in which they deliver services, particularly in the areas of justice, healthcare, education and government. Andrew’s main areas of focus are in justice, government, education and retail and he works actively in these areas through his various roles. He is the author of a range of publications, including Taking Back Retail (2012), which looks at how brands can move into the digital age; Hacking the Bureaucracy (2016), a guide to government innovation; Redesigning Work (2017), a report into how design can respond to the changing workforce; and Data Driven Design (2019) which outlines the case for merging design and data analytics into the same discipline.

To find out more about Portable, visit their website here.

Who's it for?

The session is designed for the following audience:

  • Professionals who are working within agencies and are interested to hear about how different agencies operate
  • Designers looking at how to drive social impact and to navigate agency environments
  • Organisations who work with agencies, particularly those who are working in mission areas.

Webinar details

A link to join the webinar will be provided to registered participants via email on 07/07 (AEST, CT, WC, PT).

After the 50 minute presentation, attendees will be invited to stay for a Q&A session with the panelists for up to 10 mins, and a recording of the webinar will be distributed to all registered participants in the days after the event.

What if I can't make it?

You're in luck. This webinar will be recorded and published as a video on the Portable website at a later date.

If you cannot make Thursday's event but would like to know when this video goes live you can register for the 'Send me the video' option in the registration section.

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