1) Introduction - Who We Are
Welcome to Design for Need’s blog. This official introductory series of articles will introduce you to who we are, what we do and how we can help.
14th August 2017 - Introduction, Design for Need
By Finn Brownbill
Hello, it seems like you have found your way to the grand opening of Design for Need’s blog! We couldn’t quite afford a public party to meet you, but let’s just say this is the next best thing. My name is Finn, co-founder and chief editor of Design for Need’s blog. As a newly established non-profit which values the community involvement, big and small, in everything we intend on doing, we hope this blog will intrigue, update and most importantly, involve you in every step of our exciting journey. This blog will take an informal yet detailed approach in letting you know about the variety of undertakings of the company, including: the designing of prototypes, the collaborative work with other companies, interesting stories in the world of international development and how many hot caffeinated beverages it take me to finally get my mind up and running in the morning. I will officially welcome you to the company with our 4 part introduction blog, starting with this article ‘Who We Are’. By the end of introductory series of articles you will know who we are, what we do, and how you can help. Great, now that’s in order, time to tell you a bit more about us.
The story begins on the green plains of a Cameroonian village called Bambui. It was here when the (then) student-designer Matt McClumpha, was able to secure funding and work with collaborators to implement his sustainable design project. It was called ‘Pure Water’ and was created with the original aim to implement an improved water purification systems. Collaboration with charities, local authorities and members of the community was not only a rewarding experience for Matt, it was a pleasure. Following graduation, the vague idea to pursue this admirable career was already planted in Matt’s head. He realised the greater potential this project and other projects like it could achieve on a global scale to challenge poverty, inequality and environmental injustice.
Captivated by what my life long friend Matt was telling me about his plans for the future, I knew I had get involved and help him bring this dream to life. And so, a business plan was drawn up. Well, it wasn’t quite as easy as that as we quickly learned it would take months of preparation and planning. After many name changes and essential structural decisions of what shape the company should take (Charity vs Non-profit debate), we decided to set up a Non-Profit Community Interest Company called Design for Need. We wanted to be clear from the beginning, that this was by no means a money making scheme, it was simply ensure that our projects would directly help those who could do with life changing help. We are immensely proud to state we abide by asset-lock driven work to help the communities we design for. That is, after all, what we’re all about.
Our mission statement is “to improve the lives of communities facing poverty around the world through sustainable projects and collaboration”. That is at least, the overall conclusion of what we do without going into too much detail. If you’re wondering how we go about making this happen, keep an eye on the next few articles on our blog which will explain our activities.
When we asked ourselves, “what type of company do we want to be?” we unleashed an eclectic mix of answers which prove how much we love to ramble. However, what we can confidently conclude is we want to be a socially conscious enterprise that stays loyal to the passion which kickstarted our entrepreneurial journey in the first place. It is important to adapt the business to suit the needs of stakeholders, staff and other third parties for the good, but not to drastically change the original vision and values. Upon looking inward and discovering who we are and how we want to be seen, we decided on certain values which define us:
Phew, well thanks for getting to the end of the article with me. Lot’s of rambling and logistics done, but necessary nonetheless. But joking aside, we really wanted to get this article out there to show your pure soul of Design for Need. We’re not a corporate, we’re not a money driven organisation, we’re not sneaky and secretive with our approach on business, we are open, friendly and proud of what we have achieved and what we are yet to achieve. We are human, and would like to come across in our writing and actions. Instead of throwing facts at you in a patronising fashion belittling your attention to our work, we will instead tell a story and be as transparent as possible. I can personally say that I am extremely excited to have you along for the ride. Next article I will be telling you about how Design for Need specifically helps communities through our project work. Until then let’s connect, let’s chat, let’s collaborate and let’s make a real difference.
See you soon,
A co-founder of a sustainable design company without any design experience. Sounds ideal right? Hey ho, that’s not why I’m here. I’m the chief editor of the blog and I do plenty more (non-design related) jobs too.