George Aye

United States
Co-founder and Director, Greater Good Studio

George Aye is Director of Innovation at Greater Good Studio which he cofounded with the belief that design can advance equity for all. Previously, he spent seven years at global innovation firm IDEO before being hired as the first human-centered designer at the Chicago Transit Authority.

Since founding Greater Good, he has worked across complex social issues such as criminal justice, civic engagement, public education, public health and youth development. Greater Good Studio was awarded the TED Prize City 2.0 (2012) and recognized in the Public Interest Design 100 list (2013).

The studio’s work was featured in LEAP Dialogues: Career Pathways in Design for Social Innovation and Public Interest Design Practice Guidebook. He is a workshop facilitator and frequent speaker at conferences like SXSW. George holds the position of Adjunct Full Professor at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Keynote: Friday, June 14th 9:40
‘Why is good design so hard to do?’

When it comes to social design, we often hear debates over terms, categories, and taxonomies: Should we call it design for social change? What about design for social innovation, or social impact design?

Let’s step over this sematic discussion and look at our work, our roles, our way of working. Conventional design has principles for what good is, from luminaries like Dieter Rams, but when the design work serves non-profit organisations instead of business organisations, we need a new way to evaluating what good is. Form and function isn’t going to cut it when you’re working with issues like recidivism, systemic racism or the social determinants of health.

Whether you’re a changemaker inside of a non-profit or a for-profit organization, designing change is hard to do, especially when change involves people and their behaviours. George Aye will share three principles necessary for designing social change and why the design discipline is fundamentally built to do the opposite.

Masterclass: Friday, June 14th, 14:45 
‘How to say no and still grow your business’

Hav you ever started a new project, grant or partnership only to get that sinking feeling that your worst fears about it are starting to happen? What if you and your team could pre-emptively triage any new project, grant or partnership? What if you could defend the decision to turn down new projects, grants or partnerships? What if you and your team could get rigorous and practical handle on the ideal projects, grants or partnerships?

This workshop will take stock of the projects you and your team have recently worked on and from there, build a rubric to triage future opportunities. This workshop takes your intuition and operationalizes it so you can defend yourself and your team from the kinds of implicit and explicit pressure to say ‘yes’ in a professional work setting.

Who may benefit from this masterclass?
Professionals both early and seasoned will benefit from developing an intrinsic set of questions that can shape their careers in the future, in addition to the typical extrinsic questions that can shape your resume.

Key takeaways will include how to

  • Tap gut feelings and intuition and them into a toolxecute a CX maturity assessment
  • Defend the decision to turn down new projects, grants or partnerships without shame
  • Define your ideal mix of factors that lead to great projects, grants or partnerships
  • Learn to decide how to decide