Durell Coleman speaks on DC Design’s work as a social impact strategy and design consulting firm. The firm works on the pressing issues such as the criminal justice system, healthcare, foster care, and education. Through their efforts, DC Design helps organizations nurture relationships with their communities in addition to developing strong strategies and resources. In the end, the firm provides an overall structure to empower the organization and the community.
“Our work is powered by the belief that in order to truly create the type of change the communities need, you need to be in community with those communities. You need to be working hand in hand with the people that you want to benefit.”— Durell Coleman
Durell discussed DC Design’s multi-stakeholder human-centred design, starting with an example of work done on criminal justice in Santa Clara. The multi-stakeholder approach searches for the different narratives taking place within one scenario. For Santa Clara, Durell explained the choice to speak with people who worked with incarcerated individuals, people who had been incarcerated, mentors of incarcerated individuals, family members of incarcerated individuals, and victims of crime. DC Design’s process goes even further as the firm sat down with power roles, such as the sheriff and public defender, to include those narratives. All of the experiences are gathered to work towards a solution.
Collaborative effort plays a huge role in the vision towards a better solution in DC Design’s playbook. Letting the community take the lead, the firm focuses on listening. Durell expressed thoughts behind the importance of listening deeply to people in direct contact with the issues. We continued our discussion into the topic of longevity coming to the most fitting solution. The goal is to find a solution that will still have a positive impact years later. Identifying the different needs surrounding the issue, and discovering the overlap, provides a way to create such a solution.
“I think you need to make sure that you define the problem correctly to make sure that what you create actually solves the right problem.”— Durell Coleman
Beyond helping organizations and governments, the firm opened DC Design University for people set on creating social impact. Courses explore topics that reach into overall achievement. DC Design is currently launching a self-paced course, Design Thinking Fundamentals for Social Change, giving the fundamentals of community change while using real stories of pivotal community initiatives.
We then discussed the untapped potential high schoolers have in our world. The podcast discussed this a while back, but to summarize, there is a sort of natural innovation in the limitless mind of youth. Durell shared his own story of this realization, bringing a new depth to why empowering youth is insanely beneficial. Durell then reminisced on major moments and questions that pushed his journey leading up to DC Design. He expressed his commitment to continuing the work changing communities and systems.
Also – they extended the discount of their innovative DC Design University program through August 3rd – check it out!