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HI, I’m LAUREN

I’m a multidisciplinary designer working at the intersection of social change and co-design. I’ve spent the majority of my career co-designing and implementing services, systems and policy that build social and economic prosperity.

My expertise draws from the fields of sociology, community development and ethnographic research methods and my ethos prioritizes participatory approaches from research to scale. My international work explores how intentional, inclusive, context-informed design strategies can improve social systems and  complex public services both in international development and domestic policy reform. 

I’m a graduate of Maryland Institute College of Art where I earned her MA in Social Design. Holding a BA in Sociology and Environmental Studies from Bucknell University, I consistently seeks to explore the intersection of social science and design.

Travels and work continue to take me around the globe: I’ve made a documentary on agricultural worker rights partnering with grassroots NGOs in Nicaragua; studied environmental sustainability in the forests of Costa Rica; backpacked through Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, and Indonesia;  lived and worked on accountable governance in Nigeria; explored systemic change in child protection in Norway, Sweden, Finland, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the UK.

Most recently, I’ve been working in partnership with Australian Indigenous communities to further self-determination in responses to justice, child protection, and economic participation. I was privileged enough to build and lead The Australian Centre for Social Innovation’s strategic portfolios and practice in Furthering Self Determination and Disrupting Disadvantage.

I’m passionate about writing on social design practice - my thinking has been published in Design and Culture and Developing Citizen Designers; featured in GOOD.is and Fast.co.exist and the forthcoming Systems Playbook for Funders produced by The Australian Centre for Social Innovation.

I’ve previously worked at Reboot where we partnered with the World Bank, USAID, and the NYC Mayor's office of criminal justice to redesign opportunities for social inclusion and accountability. Following Reboot, I worked for the Australian Centre for Social Innovation as a Principal of Design Research and Inclusive Innovation where our partners included Philanthropic Funders, State Governments, Aboriginal Community Controlled Organizations, and Non Profit Service Delivery Organizations. I’ve recently co-founded The Residency a global learning collective for Change Design.

Commitments & Approach

After working closely with and learning from global communities and practitioners, I have developed 6 commitments that guide my approach and ethos in social innovation work.

01
INCLUSIVE, PARTICIPATORY DESIGN & GENUINE CO-PRODUCTION
Ensuring co-design includes and is led by people with lived experience.

02
SELF-DETERMINED INNOVATION
Prioritizing approaches that further agency, choice, control and self-determination. Actively seeking to decolonize design activities and appreciating the deep efforts of reconciliation that are needed.

03
SYSTEMIC THINKING
Exploring complex social challenges through an interconnected systemic lens.

04
LONG VIEW
Considering future needs and implications, planning for responsive sustainability for this generation and generations to come.

05
SITUATION-CENTERED DESIGN
Understanding challenges and opportunities within situational and cultural contexts.

06
POWER CONSCIOUSNESS
Actively acknowledging the assets, constructs and imbalances of power and privilege in social innovation with an intentional effort to redistribute and equalize power.

[ © Lauren Weinstein 2019]