Design Impact Receives Accolades for Innovation in Social Design from International Design Society

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The Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA) named two of Design Impact’s projects as finalists in the 2012 International Design Excellence Awards (IDEA) competition.

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These projects represent the life-improving solutions that can be achieved when companies and communities use design thinking to incubate and implement new ideas.

Design Impact announced today that two of their social design projects were named as finalists in the Social Design Category of IDSA’s 2012 International Design Excellence Awards (IDEA) competition.

The Erikoodu (“burning nest”) Smokeless Charcoal Briquette Cooking System offers a clean-burning, affordable cooking fuel for low-income families in India. The system is comprised of a mixer, press and drying rack which is used to transform scraps of unusable charcoal into a briquette. Pressed from sustainably-produced charcoal, the briquette does not release smoke during cooking, which reduces indoor air pollution. The manufacture of the system generates a new source of income and raises the standard of living for women and the Tamil Nadu, India, community.

Paruva Kaalam Fair Trade Soap is a handmade soap produced by women in Tamil Nadu, India. It is made of glycerin, a natural co-product of the local small-scale biofuel refining process. The design team shared business and branding expertise to help design and internationally market the handmade soap, while also embedding skills into the local community. The enterprise offers a community-driven income opportunity for local women while utilizing existing resources.

For both projects, the team lived on site and worked with the community during development. The team collaborated with the Organization of Development, Action and Maintenance (ODAM), which improves quality of living through female empowerment and rural community development. Design Impact also partnered with Kaleidoscope, a product development and design consultancy that provided project support.

“These projects represent the life-improving solutions that can be achieved when companies and communities use design thinking to incubate and implement new ideas,” said Ramsey Ford, Design Director and Co-Founder of Design Impact.

The Erikoodu Briquette Cooking System and Paruva Kaalam Fair Trade Soap will be featured in the IDEA 2012 online gallery, in the fall edition of IDSA’s Innovation yearbook, as well as through various design media outlets.

About IDEA
Started in 1980 by IDSA, the International Design Excellence Awards program (IDEA®) fosters business and public understanding about the impact of design excellence on the quality of life and the economy. The IDEA program is considered one of the most preeminent design competitions in the nation with its scope and influence reaching far beyond U.S. boundaries.

About Design Impact
Design Impact is a non-profit organization that partners professional Design Fellows with community organizations. These designers work on-site with innovative organizations and the global communities they serve to design and implement life-improving solutions. Learn more at

About ODAM
Based out of Tiruchuli, Tamil Nadu, India, ODAM addresses poverty, women’s empowerment, child welfare, climate change and access to education, health and safety. ODAM’s holistic approach to community development and poverty alleviation has made it an effective and invaluable ally for rural South Indian village communities. Learn more at

About Kaleidoscope
Kaleidoscope is a holistic product development and design consultancy headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio. The company is committed to creating positive social change through design thinking and is contributing up to five percent of its profits and 1,000 hours of staffing to Design Impact’s projects in 2012. Learn more at

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