DI’s work is rooted in our theory of change, which outlines that sustainable social change lies at the intersection of creativity, equity, and leadership. This unique combination of perspectives is highly effective in empowering individuals and teams to develop innovative, collaborative, and inclusive practices in their work.
We use human-centered design: a problem-solving, collaborative, and creative process that any community or organization can apply to design new ways forward. The process is known for its ability to define, explore, and solve problems, and DI applies this approach to complex social issues that require service, programmatic, and systems-based solutions. In order to stretch our thinking and that of our partners, we also build upon human centered design by incorporating relevant practices from the arts and other creative fields.
We prioritize the perspectives and lived experience of those most impacted by the challenges we seek to address. This is modeled in our projects through our deep connection to community voice. By engaging the most affected as co-designers, we move beyond community feedback to community leadership. Our co-design process allows multiple stakeholders with differing viewpoints to hear one another, find common ground, and design new ways forward. Because decisions are made with transparency, we aim to create equitable buy-in and ownership throughout the work, which in turn leads to sustainable partnership and change.
We build leaders that value creativity and inclusion, embrace a learning mindset, share ownership, and drive connection. We deeply engage partners through individual and team-based experiential learning opportunities. The work focuses on building leaders' capacity to navigate change. This focus on capacity building, combined with work on meaningful, real world projects in supportive learning environments, helps develop leaders who can move from changing mindsets to changing actions, which in turn changes the conditions we seek to improve.
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DESIGN IMPACT MEASURES OUR THEORY OF CHANGE BY EVALUATING HOW MINDSETS, ACTIONS, AND CONDITIONSCHANGE OVER TIME. WE UNDERSTAND THAT IN ORDER FOR CONDITIONS TO CHANGE WE MUST FIRST CHANGE OUR ACTIONS AND MINDSETS.
CLICK HERE FOR A SUMMARY OF HOW MINDSETS, ACTIONS AND CONDITIONS INTERSECT WITH OUR THEORY OF CHANGE.
Click the boxes below to see the specific breakdown of how we understand mindsets, actions, and conditions. The cumulative impact of DI's work is represented through the integration of these measures. While the concepts of creativity, equity, and leadership informed the crafting of these lists of more than 100 indicators, we strongly believe all three must intersect as we work toward sustainable social change.