SDA Virtual Workshop

Jan 26 at 2:00-4:30 p.m. GMT

‘Entrepreneurship for Social Impact’

“Fast check the entrepreneurial potential of your idea.”

Thanks to my RSA Fellowships, I was offered a place in the ‘Entrepreneurship for Social Impact’ virtual workshop, which was run in partnership with Impact Shakers. Although I am not entering the RSA competition this year (it has been crazy enough without the added stress + I think that one award should be good for now), I still felt like I can offer some insights and maybe test out some of my own ideas. (I was also super curious about the fellow attendees and what they are working on.)

First, it was a nice surprise to see a full female panel. (Okay, I know you might be fed up with this topic by now, but I am just saying – it felt good. Would I be disappointed if Impact Shakers were mostly man dominated? Nope, I’d still appreciate the fact that someone is offering their time and expertise to help new ideas succeed.)

Second, I can only praise the SDA team for (once again) making this event a super friendly environment to be in. I saw a few familiar faces (winners from past years) and a bunch of newbies (hopefully, future winners?).

So, what was this all about? What is this magic formula to check your idea? …It is pitching!

(Okay, I am not going to act like this was a surprise. I am already familiar with pitching, but a little practise cannot hurt, right?)

Impact Shakers provided a pitch deck template, which they walked us through. After that we had 30min to build our own (fill out the template). At that moment I felt like I am damned because none of my ideas were born with the intent of making money off of it – I don’t have the business gene, I guess. So, I went through my list of MA Final Project Ideas (and any ideas that my brain managed to think of at that moment).

1) How might we explain design?

2) The Future of Education

3) Bridging the divide (How can we stay in touch with our grandparents during the pandemic?)

Okay, three ideas and that was about it… For some reason, I went ahead with the first one and after 30mins I managed to finish only about 3 or 4 slides, which just shows you that I really haven’t thought about the project from an entrepreneurial POV. That is when we entered the breakout rooms (a group of 4 attendees and one facilitator from the Impact Shakers) and started presenting. To summarize the ideas, which were presented, without revealing too much I’d say that the topics which were addressed are the usual suspects (you can make whatever you want out it). Some presentations were great (a sign that the idea must have been long in the making) and some were less polished (we all have to start somewhere).

Mine was admittedly a mess because I am not used to working with such a tight time limit while also not having a clear idea of what I am trying to communicate. So understandably the main critique was that I was not clear enough about what I am trying to achieve with the idea. (Frankly, that is the reality, so I wholeheartedly agree with this. Even though I usually praise myself for making pretty bomb presentations – this was not the case.) Still, I was pleasantly surprised that fellow attendees kept nodding their heads as I was talking. Therefore, I am assuming that design folk is more likely to understand – but I should try to make this clear to people who are not in the design industry, a ‘dummy version’ to use the exact words that the Impact Shakers facilitator suggested. Another issue that I have is that I am not thinking from the bottom up. (I am not identifying a person who is going to benefit from this and then structuring the project around solving their problem. Essentially, I don’t have an ideal customer, which means that this project is not centred around solving a problem – maybe it is just my selfish projection.

This was a big realization – as a product designer, people always come first, at least for me. So why have I abandoned this approach now?)

Anyway, these are the lessons that I am taking away from the workshop: Clarity and people first!

(Oh, and I should also probably show you what was on the slides that I did finish right?)


To build a Collective Bridge of responsibility by creating a sense of Understanding. (Responsible Design needs all of us.)


- Problems would be much easier to solve if people had the knowledge that designers have.

- All designers have an immense responsibility over our behaviour and our understanding of life as we know it.

- This is a responsibility that the general public is mostly unaware of.

- Our freedom of choice remains an illusion.


- Establish a common understanding of what design is and what it can do.

- Implement the Division of Responsibility Strategy to proactively address issues like consumerism, global warming, inclusivity, …

Business Model

- Subscription? (online platform with resources and related content)

- Product Sales (publish a book)

- Partnerships (Universities and Design-led companies)