Why social design?

I want to be a social designer.

Wait, you want to be a WHAT?

Okay, social designer, what does that really mean? Is that something the ten year old me would be able to understand? Did she ever dream about being one someday? I don’t think so.

However, I am honestly grateful to have the opportunity to explore and explain this idea of social design to people, and take part in the design revolution. 

I decided to pursue the still-evolving career of a social designer, a position the designer can define. I don’t think there is a single incident that determined my intent. Nevertheless, I do believe the interest occasionally sparked throughout my twenty-seven year life. Every step I took had irreplaceable importance that ultimately shaped my mind, my heart, and the following steps.

When I was eighteen years old, I was given an opportunity in school to organize an experimental summer camp about life. Surprisingly, 35 students got interested and attended the camp as guinea pigs. To understand life, I took attendees to the real world, which was composed of different lives - people in a city prison, a senior home, and a school for disabled people. To experience life, I designed participatory simulations of various life situations such as being limited to only NT$30 (USD$1) a day or practicing writing with your mouth.

After the camp, some people enthusiastically came to me and thanked me for creating this unforgettable experience. But I realized I actually benefited from the event the most. I witnessed the positive power of interaction and understanding among people. In addition, little did I know that I ignited the start of true empowerment that motivates people to take action and make change.

In college, I did not directly plunge into the social world. Instead, I studied business. Then, my life turned and I went on a different adventure for the following ten years. The adventure was actually establishing a non-direct yet sturdy trajectory that eventually led me to commit to social design. It was not until my last job, which introduced me to the concept of social enterprise, that I recognized the excitement of empowering is essential in my life.

As some election candidates would argue that we live in a broken city, a broken country, a broken world, in this critical era, I can confidently say that I am ready for a transformative process that connects people with the right mindset, right resources, and the right problem to solve - the process of social design.