How might we channel the passions of junior staff to support even greater positive corporate social responsibility at Gensler Baltimore?
To address this question, I’m collaborating with five of Gensler Baltimore’s junior staff (Amanda, Anat, Dana, Migena, and Tyler) and one Senior Associate (Elaine) as I proceed with the design process. They are six of the most genuinely passionate, engaged, kind, and generous people I have met at Gensler; I cannot tell you how excited I was that they expressed interest in continuing to develop this work.
I revisited my user research to reread the gamut of answers to my question about Gensler’s aspirations for CSR. One question remained for me. With so many great ideas, why isn’t anyone doing this already?
So, I asked my core group, “What is the single biggest challenge to positive social responsibility efforts at Gensler?” I needed to understand the challenges they encounter when they undertake these initiatives. Without hesitation, they responded “insufficient time” (80% of responses) and “support from leadership” (20% of responses).
How might we manufacture time?
This question sparked a redirection of my research. We began brainstorming some intervention ideas which could be implemented as grassroots efforts.
As a team of intrapreneurs (as in, “internal entrepreneurs”), we decided to focus on ideas in which the junior staff could support each other and seek resources for social purpose at Gensler. In particular, we are exploring ways in which we can re-frame existing Gensler programs to benefit social responsibility. These mechanisms will validate social purpose as a priority for the office and provide avenues for new or interested staff to pursue it as well.
My theory of change is that if we support the passion of junior staff now and foster their growth as Gensler’s rising leaders, they will be able to directly influence the firm’s future social responsibility policy in the future.
Project completed within the graduate program in Social Design at MICA.
Faculty Advisors: Lee Davis, Thomas Gardner, Mike Weikert.