Non-Profits Need New Ideas to Serve Their Customers.

The reason most people choose to work in the non-profit sector is to help people. But where do they go when they need help to figure out how they can create the most impact?

Many of the people in our non-profit and not-for-profit community need guidance in generating new ideas, or solving problems that impact them or people they are trying to help. Students working on projects, entrepreneurs working on social businesses, faculty working on research. You don’t have to try to solve a problem by yourself. There are people who can help, in a number of different ways.

The Social Policy Institute, part of the School of Social Work at San Diego State University, has partnered with Idea Lab to help better serve the non-profit organizations in our community. From health and human services, to children, families and community, SPI aims to increase well-being by engaging, working with and inspiring our partners, community stakeholders and policy makers. SPI believes that with the help of Idea Lab’s processes and resources they can increase their impact for everyone that lives, works, plays and prays in San Diego.

The Idea Lab + SPI works with all types of people in all types of organizations. We help these people by sharing and teaching what we know through our programs, processes and services. We work on campus, on-site and online, to understand our clients goals and how we can help.

The Value of Design

Much has been written about the strategic value that design can add to organizations of any scale and type, and research continues to quantify the value of design. Admittedly,  the value of design is difficult to define.  Design is hard to isolate as a function and the design function operates differently by industry.  That makes benchmarking to standardized measurement metrics difficult.

Instead, DMI chose to look at the value of design-focused organizations as an aggregate.  In 2013, DMI and Motiv Strategies collaborated to develop a market index that could be used to track how design-focused companies perform relative to the S&P 500 over time. 15 publicly traded US companies made the criteria for inclusion. The results supported a growing body of findings that good design drives shareholder value.

The dmi:Design Value Index

DMI and Motiv Strategies, funded by Microsoft, began analyzing the performance of US companies committed to design as an integral part of their business strategy. Completed in  2013 the dmi:Design Value Index tracked the value of publicly held companies that met specific design management criteria, and monitored the impact of their investments in design on stock value over a ten-year period, relative to the overall S&P Index.

2015 results show that over the last 10 years design-led companies have maintained significant stock market advantage, outperforming the S&P by an extraordinary 211%.

In 2015, the Design Value Index (DVI), based on a portfolio of 16 publicly traded stocks from companies considered to be “design-centric” contingent on a set of criteria that reflects best practices in design management, shows a 211% return over the S&P 500. This marks the third year in a row we have seen such results in excess of 200% over the S&P.

In fact, today there may be more nontraditional organizations : services, non-profit, management consulting firms, and governments– trying to build design capabilities than ever before.

Review Resources Developed for Non-Profits by Idea Lab + SPI

The Intro to Design Think Workshop is the fastest way to learn how to generate new ideas and solve problems.


Want to meet with Idea Lab + SPI to talk about your idea or problem? Just ask.

In order to better manage the request we get from non-profits, please complete this form as required. You may not know everything, but share what you do know and we’ll help figure out the rest.

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