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Austin Center for Design

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Austin Center for Design Publishes Wicked Problems: Problems Worth Solving; Gives it Away for Free Online


Book Acts as a Call-to-Action for Design-Driven Disruptive Innovation in the Form of Social Entrepreneurship

Austin, TX, March 03, 2012 --(PR.com)-- Austin Center for Design today published a new book focused on the role of design in social entrepreneurship. Titled Wicked Problems: Problems Worth Solving, the book is presented as a handbook for teaching, learning, and doing meaningful disruptive design work. The book includes an introduction to wicked problems, describing some of the challenges and opportunities of design-led entrepreneurial activities. The text describes the skills necessary for successful entrepreneurship, and offers both methods and curricula for learning how to engage with large scale humanitarian problems.

The book is available for free in its entirety online, at http://www.wickedproblems.com, and is made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License, which allows anyone to use the contents for their own non-commercial purposes.

Author Jon Kolko described the book as both, “a call to action and a granting of permission. I’ve found that many designers desperately seek meaning in their work, but for any number of reasons, don’t feel empowered to act as an entrepreneur. Instead, they find themselves in high-paying jobs at famous corporations and consultancies, but doing work that they find boring or, worse, harmful. This book says to those designers, ‘It’s OK to start your own company. It’s OK to do meaningful work. It’s OK to expect more from your life.”

Kolko, formerly a director and principle at global innovation firm frog design, is now the founder of Austin Center for Design (AC4D), a non-profit school in Austin. AC4D teaches interaction design and social entrepreneurship, and graduates from the program go on to form their own double-bottom line companies. Kolko explained that, “This book is a glimpse of what we’re thinking about at AC4D. It’s about working on problems that matter; it’s about problems worth solving. We’ve made the full text of the book available online for free in order to help advance the discussion of design-led social entrepreneurship.”

About Jon Kolko
Jon Kolko is the Founder and Director of Austin Center for Design, a progressive educational institution teaching interaction design and social entrepreneurship. His work focuses on bringing the power of design to social enterprises, with an emphasis on entrepreneurship and large-scale industry disruption. He has worked extensively with both startups and Fortune 500 clients, and he has a breadth of experience in consumer electronics, mobility, web services, supply chain management, demand planning, and customer-relationship management. He has worked with big-brand clients such as AT&T, HP, Nielsen, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Ford, IBM, Palm and other leaders of the Global 2000, as well as with startups like Socialware, Spredfast, Vast, Attivio, and more.

Jon has held positions of Executive Director of Design Strategy at Thinktiv, a venture accelerator in Austin, Texas, and both Principal Designer and Associate Creative Director roles at frog design, a global innovation firm. He was also a Professor of Interaction and Industrial Design at the Savannah College of Art and Design, where he was instrumental in building both the Interaction and Industrial Design undergraduate and graduate programs. Jon has also held the role of Director for the Interaction Design Association (IxDA), and Editor-in-Chief of interactions magazine, published by the ACM.

Jon is the author of the book Thoughts on Interaction Design, published by Morgan Kaufmann, and Exposing the Magic of Design: A Practitioner's Guide to the Methods and Theory of Synthesis, published by Oxford University Press.

About Austin Center for Design
Austin Center for Design exists to transform society through design and design education. This transformation occurs through the development of design knowledge directed towards all forms of social and humanitarian problems. The center explicitly tackles problems related to:

· Homelessness
· Nutrition, personal wellness, and consumption
· Education
· Poverty

The Center offers an innovative curriculum that repositions creative design education in the context of designing for the public sector. Students learn the interdisciplinary skills of creative design thinking, as applied to solving complicated problems of society and culture.

These skills broadly include divergent thinking, ideation, visualization, synthesis, prototyping, and the managing of complexity and data organization. Students use these skills to develop systems, services, products, and new business models that address pressing social issues.

AC4D offers a one year program - held on site (on nights and weekends) in Austin, Texas - emphasizing creative problem solving related to human behavior, through the use of advanced technology and novel approaches to business strategy. The program is ideal for designers, artists, business professionals and technologists with 2-5 years of experience doing professional work, or for more seasoned professionals looking to change the trajectory of their careers.The curriculum balances a more traditional lecture-style with the creative learning-by-doing, experiential qualities of a design studio environment, and students rapidly acquire knowledge of the various discipline humanitarian issues while formulating advanced design knowledge related to synthesis, service and system design, and entrepreneurship.

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Contact Information
Austin Center for Design
Jon Kolko
512-843-0850
Contact
www.ac4d.com

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