There has been a growing trend of designers trying to do something for social change; a lot of social design agencies and conferences are a result of this. The AIGA Center for Sustainability started the Green Salon program that was designed to bring together small groups of members for informal discussions around a selected topic, filling a gap between large, general membership events and casual happy hours. The Washington, DC chapter has been holding Salons on various topics on a roughly monthly basis since 2005. In general, Salons have been limited to 12 participants plus the hosts,and are free and open only to members. AIGA DC has held “Green” Salons on a quarterly basis focusing on sustainable design, and has also had successful Salons based on business issues, art direction, design for government clients and other topics.
In the Philippines, groups made their own unconferences like the “Why Not Forum” and “Design to Make a Difference” to promote social communications and design. I think this is in response to the growing trends of unconferences like Pecha Kucha in Japan and BarCamp of California. Thailand has Fuse Showcase and Hakuna Matata Night.
And it’s cool to know that there are organizations that gives awards to social design efforts like Index:—a catalyst which spurs public and professional awareness of the human and commercial potential in Design to Improve Life. INDEX: pursues this goal by awarding the biggest design award in the world, presenting international design exhibitions, hosting summits for world leaders on design and innovation and by publishing and distributing knowledge about Design to Improve Life.