Design Briefs

April 9th, 2015
In collaboration with Grand Rapids Art Museum and Local First

Good ideas make vibrant communities

—and great conversations. Join the discussion as the Grand Rapids Art Museum (GRAM) and AIGA West Michigan present Design Briefs on Thursday, April 9 – part of a recurring event series focused on design, entrepreneurship and social impact. This edition coincides with GRAM’s presentation of the Edward Burtynsky: Water exhibition showing from February 1 – April 26, 2015. Burtynsky’s large scale photographs are said to form “a compelling global portrait of water that functions as an open-ended question about humanity’s past, present, and future relationship with the natural world.” As Burtynsky’s photographs inspire the viewer to join the conversation, we hope that Design Briefs will engage our community in dialogue about the BCorp vision, which encourages business owners and entrepreneurs to be reflective, and to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.

This time around, we’re partnering with Local First to examine the next big idea in business innovation. The Benefit Corporation (BCorp) movement reframes the challenge to business owners from “Being the Best in The World” to being the “Best for the World.” Given our region’s forward thinking legacy, It’s not surprising that the place Fast Company magazine called “America’s Greenest City” is riding the international wave of enterprise that seeks to solve social and environmental problems. Take a deep dive into how Grand Rapids businesses can make money and a difference.

The April 9 program will allow designers, entrepreneurs, and business owners to explore how Local First’s newly launched BImpact Assessment tool can transform their operating model to create higher value for customers, employees, community, and the environment.  The event will feature crowd sourced case studies as examples for review by a panel of experts and the audience. Visual Hero will lead mini design-thinking workshops to help the entrepreneurs push toward a solutions that support the benefit of people, the planet, and profit. Additionally, attendees will enjoy a special guided tour of the Edward Burtynsky: Water exhibition, exclusive to the night of our event. 

A legacy of design, entrepreneurship and philanthropy

Spurred by West Michigan’s legacy of design, entrepreneurship and philanthropy, Design Briefs has launched to examine how lessons learned through our rich history are still relevant today. The conversation hopes to explore the strategic value of design to entrepreneurs, and expand the designers’s understanding of needs and opportunities within start-ups—to, ultimately, make connections that will strengthen the ideas and the community.

AIGA West Michigan in partnership with Grand Rapids Art Museum thanks Herman Miller, WorkSquared, GR Current, Visual Hero, Custom Printers, Brewery Vivant and Proper Soda for their valued support.