The Design for Social Impact program partnered with GoodCompany and the Philadelphia Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics to develop curriculum materials and provide design support for FastFWD, an urban innovation accelerator program for socially-minded entrepreneurs. Based on the strength of our previous collaborations with the GoodCompany summer accelerator, it invited us into the project to share our design expertise with the participants as a complement to the FastFWD program’s core business curriculum. Design for Social Impact faculty and graduate students, as well as students from the Museum Exhibition Planning and Design MFA and undergraduate Industrial Design programs, worked with GoodCompany to create a robust curriculum for social entrepreneurs that integrates human-centered design process and methodology into the very fabric of the FastFWD accelerator program.

Our team facilitated a collaborative design process in order to lead entrepreneurs through an iterative development cycle to meet their highest potential for social innovation. We built our design curriculum to support the FastFWD entrepreneurs in practicing rigorous design research, integrative thinking, rapid prototyping, and a participatory, collaborative methodology to meet the demands of complex social, environmental, and business issues like those identified by these dynamic businesses. Over the course of the twelve week program, students teamed up with FastFWD entrepreneurs to provide them with a range of design capabilities and services:

  • ethnographic research methods to understand stakeholders/users/consumers and the larger context of their experiences
  • identifying actionable insights through integrative, systems-level thinking
  • iterative prototyping actions which translate insight into action so that their efficacy and impact can be evaluated
  • design and production of specific deliverables to support the entrepreneur’s jump toward implementation of their innovative business, including brand identity systems, infographics, presentations and other communication materials


The UArts DSI contribution to FastFWD was supported by many collaborators, which included students, faculty, and professionals.

Graduate students:

  • Fuajia Amin, DSI / MID
  • Davis Hermann, DSI / MID
  • Vrouyr Joubanian, DSI / MID
  • Christa Martinez, DSI / MID
  • Jordan Shade, DSI / MID
  • Noah Smalls, MEPD
  • Katharina Unger, DSI / MID
  • Min-Wen Yeh, DSI / MID


Guest workshop leaders: