Seeking Social Innovation Specialist


We are growing! DI is currently looking for a Social Innovation Specialist to join our staff in Cincinnati, Ohio.


Design Impact is a public interest, social innovation firm that provides creative community development services to partners in the US and abroad.  We collaborate with organizations and entrepreneurs to:

  • INCUBATE groundbreaking projects that transform communities,

  • EQUIP community leaders with social innovation tools, and

  • ADVANCE methods of creative community change.

In the past five years, we’ve incubated over 30 social innovation projects, trained over 1,000 changemakers, and provided countless hours of design services to community development initiatives. Together with our partners, we co-create sustainable, desirable, and meaningful solutions that improve society by design.


DI is currently looking for a Social Innovation Specialist to join our staff in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Social Innovation Specialist will serve as a key member of our team, with specific responsibilities to develop and implement social innovation programs with our partner organizations and entrepreneurs.


As the DI Social Innovation Specialist, you will be fully responsible for successfully designing and facilitating various social innovation programs. This includes collaborating with partners, developing new curriculum, implementing programs, and growing our network and client base.

Program Design

+ Adapt DI’s current curriculum to specific programmatic environments
+ Develop new active-learning curriculum to fit program needs
+ Meet with partners to co-design social innovation programs
+ Develop and implement real world, community development projects
+ Design program materials including presentations, workbooks, and facilitator guides

Program Facilitation

+ Work closely with Design Impact staff to design and deliver program content
+ Deliver engaging presentations
+ Facilitate participant growth and skill development
+ Facilitate “train the trainer” sessions
+ Provide oversight and feedback to program participants

Partnership Development

+ Build professional relationships with clients and program partners
+ Participate in developing program evaluations and measurement
+ Document and communicate the impact of programs
+ Identify and develop relationships with potential partners
+ Support a variety of administrative & organizational tasks as needed


If you’re a successful candidate, you will be flexible, resourceful, and willing to work in a non-traditional work environment. You are passionate about bringing design and innovation tools to the non-profit community. You have a strong work ethic, build trusting relationship easily, and can relate to people from various economic and geographic backgrounds. You would have experience working in cross-boundary, cross-sector settings and would be comfortable talking to business leaders on one-hand and low-income community members on the other.  You are excited by the challenges of collaborating across multiple time zones, playing various roles (entrepreneurial), and building on existing programs. You’re an excellent communicator, take initiative, thrive in a team environment— and with the switch of a hat, you can work remotely with impeccable ease.

In addition, you must have:

  • Extremely strong verbal communication skills, both in front of large groups and inter-personally

  • A deep working knowledge of design thinking, social innovation, and social enterprise

  • Experience working with NGOs/non-profits, social enterprises, social entrepreneurs, and/or communities affected by poverty

  • Significant experience in facilitating creative learning environments

  • At least 3+ years of professional experience in design or social entrepreneurship

  • Strong visual communication skills and the ability to create your own aesthetic presentations and documents

  • Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in a related field (design, business/innovation, community development)

  • A genuine and demonstrable interest in interdisciplinary work and intercultural collaborations

  • Excellent written communication skills in English.  Knowledge of any other language is a plus

  • The ability to work independently; self-motivated and responsible with minimal supervision

  • A positive attitude, highly curious with the desire to work with people from various backgrounds


The Social Innovation Specialist is a full time position based in our Cincinnati office (to learn more about this great Midwestern city, read here). While most of the position’s responsibilities are conducted in Cincinnati, occasional travel—including international travel—will be required.


This position is open and we are looking to fill it immediately.


Compensation may vary with experience, but will be competitive within the sector.


Think you’d make a good fit for our team? Send your resume, cover letter expressing your interest in this position, and examples of relevant work to Ramsey Ford, Design Director, at



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Collaborating Globally

Along with back to school schedules and pumpkin-flavored everything, Fall has ushered in some very exciting developments in the Design Impact world.

First and foremost, we have the pleasure of welcoming Geoff Zoeckler, SEEK innovation consultant and the latest addition to our DI family. Geoff’s deep background in human-centered design coupled with his passion for social change make him a perfect fit as our new Social Innovation Specialist. Over the next nine months, he will apply his unique talents at the helm of our Global Citizen Leader program; galvanizing 250 MBA students at the Welingkar School of Business (Mumbai) to resolve social challenges while immersing them in Leadership and Innovation practices. Go Geoff!

The one and only, Geoff Zoeckler

The one and only, Geoff Zoeckler (YoYo master)

Click here to learn more about the Global Citizen Leadership Program.


Student become Global Citizen Leaders

Future leaders prototyping their ideas

On this project DI is continuing our close partnership with the Center for Creative

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Leadership, whose mission is “to advance the understanding, practice and development of leadership for the benefit of society worldwide.” DI believes that together with CCL we can have a significant impact equipping young leaders to face some of our world’s most pressing challenges through a combination of human understanding, diverse collaboration, and innovative problem-solving.

Staying dry - Kate and Ramsey with Lyndon from Center for Creative Leadership.

Staying dry in Chennai – Kate, Ramsey, and Lyndon from Center for Creative Leadership.

Keep an eye out for further DI/CCL joint ventures including a transformative approach to fostering women’s leadership at Mount Mary University in Wisconsin, as well as an exciting collaboration with Ford Motor Company Fund’s Blue Oval Social Innovation Leadership program in Tamil Nadu, India.


Collaborating during B.O.S.I.L.

All in! Team members at Ford Motor Company Fund prep for innovation

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Random Snacks of Kindness


“This year’s project has really opened up my eyes to a whole new world of possibilities. You CAN use your creative abilities in areas other than art. And it is also possible to make a difference in your city through something as simple as a snack mix.”
Elena Jordan-Keller (ArtWorks Apprentice, 17)

As Design Impact continues to grow, we’re excited to focus much of our efforts on our hometown of Cincinnati. We’re involved with many local projects over the next few months, the first of which began during summer 2013…


Meet our fabulous, culinary entrepreneurs!

As the creator of FEAST, Frances Kroner had a vision: empower youth to help her start a socially-conscious snack business by giving them the tools and inspiration to do so. With a background in food innovation, she decided to partner with ArtWorks youth apprentices, Sydney Wise (paper artist extraordinaire) and the team at Design Impact. Due to DI’s experience incubating multiple social enterprises, Frances invited DI

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to instill the team with business development expertise while she facilitated the food development portion of their training.

They’re on a roll! Artworks apprentices in the kitchen.

They’re on a roll! Artworks apprentices in the kitchen.


Experimenting to make the most delicious snack mix ever!

Experimenting to make the most delicious snack mix ever!

Using the Springboard curriculum as a starting point, DI led the apprentices through multiple creative enterprise modules in order to bring this snack mix from the kitchen to the community.

Consumer research - blind taste test.

Consumer research – blind taste test.


Youth apprentices collaborating on the business plan.

Youth apprentices collaborating on the business plan.


The team created over 1,000 personal kindness notes.

The team created over 1,000 personal kindness notes.

Why is it called Random Snacks of Kindness you ask? Each snack mix includes a handwritten kindness note that includes original artwork and is folded origami-style. In addition, 100% of the proceeds go directly to ArtWorks to support their community art initiatives–so this snack mix really will brighten many people’s day!

From plans...

From plans… reality!

…to reality!

DI is thrilled to have helped launch this amazing social enterprise! Special thanks to

Frances Kroner of FEAST, Sydney Wise, Sarah Corlett and the amazing team at ArtWorks (and Springboard!), Betty Hatchett Design, Giacomo Ciminello @ Kaleidoscope, Julie Niesen of Wine Me Dine Me, Peggy Shannon of Queen City Cookies, and Jacqueline C. Wood, in addition to all of the incredible donors that supported this project. Finally DI wants to give a big thank-you-shout-out to Elena, Sunny, Max, Madeline, Breanna, and Emma–the six ArtWorks Apprentices–for their boundless creativity and enthusiasm. You all rocked it!

Finally, keep an eye out for an upcoming Random Snacks of Kindness video as well as a product launch this fall!

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Get Cozy and Rock On!

The folks over at CNCY MADE had a vision: grow Cincinnati’s maker community and revitalize its rich manufacturing culture by connecting design entrepreneurs to local, small batch manufacturers. Through partnership with Design Impact and the University of Cincinnati design program, First Batch was born: supplying creative entrepreneurs with the knowledge and tools necessary to establish their small enterprises and produce their “first batch”. Due

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to Design Impact’s familiarity with small business development, program design and management, and outcome measurement, we joined forces with the CNCY Made team to measure

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the impact of the program and contribute to program oversight.

DJ Corney of Wool Shop and Adam Jonovski of Hatchet Guitars were the first two entrepreneurs to go through the program.


Noel Gauthier articulates the vision.

Wool Shop focuses on producing high-quality, handmade sweaters. Using wool from ethically-raised sheep and dying it with all natural ingredients such as roots and flowers, Wool Shop ensures that each sweater is unique and thoughtful–from “sheep to sweater”.


It takes a village to craft an all-natural, handmade sweater.


A beautiful Wool Shop sweater.

Hatchet Guitars is devoted to building uniquely portable electric guitars. By implementing a shorter neck with thicker strings, Hatchet Guitars have the full range of a traditional instrument while providing the convenience of fitting in a backpack, all manufactured right here in Cincinnati!


Manufacturing a stairway to heaven.


Full range of a classic guitar, way more convenience.

With the successful launch of these two enterprises, the First Batch team will take learnings from this year and apply them next year’s batch of design entrepreneurs.

We had a great time working with the following teammates on this one (CNCY MADE, Springboard, Hatchet Guitars, Wool Shop, We Have Become Vikings, The Launch Werks, Powerhouse, FEAST), and look forward to staying involved in this work, helping to create lasting economic impact here in our hometown.

Now, let’s get cozy and rock on!

rock on

First Batch early adopter, Sean Goss, enjoys his Wool Shop sweater and Hatchet Guitar.

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Design Impact for Change Makers


From August 1st- 2nd, we hosted Design Impact for Change Makers (DI4CM) at the LiveWell Collaborative in Cincinnati. Through the program, several community leaders from the non-profit, social enterprise, and higher education sectors learned about design thinking and how it can help drive innovative breakthroughs on their organizational or community issues. Here’s a taste of what the program was all about.

Getting inspired by looking closely at oranges.

Getting inspired by looking closely at oranges.

Day 1: Seeing Opportunities
“Fall in love with your problem”.
DI co-founder Kate Hanisian kicked off DI4CM by providing a peek into the design mindset: embrace mystery and engage new problems with a curious, open mind. In doing this, designers discover patterns that can lead to potential new ideas or solutions. The first day of DI4CM focused entirely on this process, with participants completing a variety of activities to explore embracing the mystery, getting inspired and identifying patterns.

Two participants discussing a newly developed process map.

Two participants discussing a newly developed process map.

After learning and experiencing the concepts through active learning modules, participants wrapped up day one by applying these concepts to their own organizations and issues.

Day 2: Innovation in Action
“Crisis moments inspire action.”
Seeing opportunities is an essential part of design thinking, but acting on these opportunities is what creates change. The second day of the DI4CM workshop addressed this by exploring prototyping, the iterative process, sustainable implementation models, and leadership principles. And, as in the first day, the second day concluded with time for participants to reflect on their own projects and support one another with feedback and group discussion.

A participant with here reflections from the first day.

A participant with her reflections from the first day.

Moving Forward
At the closing of the DI4CM workshop we discussed ways to continue our lively discussions and provide support for participant projects. We settled on two frameworks: a closed Facebook group that allows participants to share and discuss the application of design in their projects; and “accountability partners” which paired participants and encouraged them to check in with each other and review their progress. We look forward to hearing about their progress and watching their projects grow from ideas through to implementation!

Learning about sustainable implementation from paper airplanes.

Learning about sustainable implementation from paper airplanes.

To learn more about Design Impact’s Workshops and Programs, click here.

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