After hundreds of hours of user research, popular themes began to emerge. Many of my takeaways focused on opportunities in internal governance. Themes about leadership, diversity, equity, transparency, employee benefit, and financial responsibility rose to prominence. There was something here that needed further exploring.
From those themes mentioned above, I identified two specific key insights:
The first is that the junior staff are the most vocal and active in social responsibility, but they lack the immediate power to affect change. They are deeply inspired by stories about positive social purpose from the news, social media, events, and their friends. They are hyper-aware of other organizations who engage in social responsibility. They were also the most active participants in both Gensler’s volunteerism efforts and my workshops. The power of their groundswell could be incredibly strong. However, they know individually they are not in positions of immediate influence.
How might we channel the passions of junior staff to inspire even greater positive corporate social responsibility at Gensler Baltimore?
My second insight grew from my interviews with Gensler San Francisco’s staff. All my interviewees there enthused over their ideas for social responsibility. They attributed this passion to the city’s unique socially-progressive culture and the forward-looking nature of their clients. From them, I learned previous efforts towards an innovative social responsibility measure made good progress in San Francisco. However, this progress, though inspiring, was short-lived.
How might we realize the San Francisco office’s vision for social responsibility while remaining sensitive to the corporate concerns?
I was excited to move forward with these two specific areas of inquiry because they offered unique opportunities in two very different avenues for change on opposite coasts of the country.
Project completed within the graduate program in Social Design at MICA.
Faculty Advisors: Lee Davis, Thomas Gardner, Mike Weikert.