Upcoming Events & Workshops

Transformative Storytelling for Non-Profit Volunteer Administrators
Thursday, November 5, New York University Kimmel Center
Develop skills to tell the story of your volunteer program. Learn how to tell stories with your data. After completing this workshop, you will be better able to tell your volunteer story to a range of audiences, including prospective volunteers, funders, organizational leadership, and the public at large. Learn more and register here.

Awesome Foundation presents #AwesomeTalks
Thursday, November 19, Orbital Space
Make more awesome happen in New York City. We're convening at Orbital (155 Rivington Street) for a night of fun, ideas and excitement. Come one, come all, bring a guest, and hang loose. Beverages and food will be provided. RSVP.

GIVNYC 2015, presented by Givkwik
Tuesday, December 1, Impact Hub NYC
GIVNYC 2015 is a live participatory philanthropy event taking place in New York City on Giving Tuesday (December 1). Learn more.

SAVE THE DATE: A Celebration of Makers
Monday, December 11, 5-9 pm, NY Designs
Join us in celebrating the creativity of makers in our neighborhood (Long Island City, Queens), from the arts, design and tech to film and TV to food and fashion. More details coming soon.

Transformative Storytelling Class
Monday, December 14, 7-9 pm, Centre for Social Innovation NYC
Join Foossa’s Lee-Sean Huang in uncovering the narrative structures and strategies used by social change practitioners and entrepreneurs for building community and inspiring action. Register today and use code Huang25 to get 25% off. 

Recent Media & Publications

Ethos Magazine Interview: Lucy Chesters talks to Lee-Sean Huang about our work with Wisdom Hackers, UX for Good, and the Kigali Genocide Memorial

Rising Minds at Soho House: Video of Lee-Sean's presentation about our design collaboration with UX for Good and the Kigali Genocide Memorial 

6 Essential Skills for Design and Social Innovation: What you need to succeed at Foossa or in a related career path

Designer as Method Actor and Translator: Design as "becoming" and act of radical empathy

AuthorLee-Sean Huang

How do we design transformative museum experiences that bridge the gap between empathy and action?

I explore this question in my Rising Minds talk at Soho House NY and share about Foossa's design collaboration with UX for Good and the Kigali Genocide Memorial.

Students and job seekers frequently ask me about the skills that they need to succeed at Foossa or in a related career path. I came up with this list as a starting point for anyone interested in using design as a tool for social innovation.

1. Write Well

Being a strong writer goes a long way. Clear writing signals that you can think clearly and communicate effectively. 

Craft compelling stories. Appeal to the heart and to the head. Be persuasive. Be concise. Be memorable. 

2. Prototype

Prototyping could mean making something out of popsicle sticks and pipe cleaners to coding the minimum viable version of an app. You don't necessary need high tech prototyping skills, but you do have a bias toward action.

You learn by doing. You learn by making. You prototype to learn. You can think visually and sketch out maps, diagrams, and charts to help inform your thinking. Your sketches could be doodles on Post-Its rather than museum-worthy masterpieces, although strong drawing skills are certainly a plus. 

3. Code Switch

You speak the language of business. You speak the language of your clients and of your customers. You speak the language of social innovation. You understand how to define a theory of change.

You know how to reinterpret a creative brief to get down to the essence of what the needs really are. 

You can get by in the language of designers and technologists enough to be able to collaborate with them effectively and to manage multi-disciplinary teams. You understand the basics of visual language, from hierarchy to typography. Bonus points if you can code in a programming language.   

4. Make Stuff Happen

You know how to manage projects from inspiration to implementation. You break down difficult and complex tasks into manageable steps. You find the courage to put stuff out in the world to see what happens. You iterate until you get it right. Then you iterate some more. 

You make community happen. Bring people together and get them involved in collaboration and co-creation. This could mean hosting an event, facilitating  a meeting/workshop, or community-managing an online discussion forum. 

5. Give and Receive Feedback

You know how to conduct a design critique. Help your teammates improve by giving critical insights and new perspectives into their work. You can give and get feedback without making it personal.

You make it about the creative brief and shared goals rather than just your personal opinions and preferences.

You learn how to filter the feedback that you get into "advice to implement" and "advice to take with a grain of salt."  

6. Document, Document, Document

My professors really drove this point home in my masters program. Make sure you document your work, whether it is through blogging, journaling, photos, videos, or a combination of the above. You will need it one day in the future, whether it is for a portfolio or for another project. Pictures, or it didn't really happen.


This list is a work in progress. What skills would you add? Let me know in the comments.

P.S. If you are considering grad school to help you acquire some of theses skills, check out the MFA Design for Social Innovation program at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. I teach there. 

AuthorLee-Sean Huang