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96 | Knowing the Business of Social Design

Katie Crepeau is a consultant whose work helps social impact designers grow their organizations.

96 | Knowing the Business of Social Design

Katie helps designers create businesses that improve their financial sustainability, make use of their skills, and impact their clients and the wider community. Before integrating social design into her professional life, Katie worked at a small architecture firm focused on adaptive reuse and residential projects and mainly for urban developers. Over time, she found herself growing unsatisfied with the traditional profession of architecture; it disregarded a large population of people in the world, and much of the work being produced did not seem critical or necessary to her. Outside of her work, she participated in social impact design work as a volunteer. Eventually, she grew interested in turning her interest into a career. 

In 2013, Katie founded Design Affects, an online platform featuring stories from design professionals doing meaningful work. The website ran for five years. Through her work, she began to recognize that methods and practices of social design are not generally institutionalized. Often, budding social designers have to learn things already known by older generations. Crepeau founded her own practice, bringing her learned experience and a business-type consulting service to the world of social design. Her work contributes to an ongoing fabric of knowledge-sharing throughout the social design field, helping designers learn from each other and experts.

Currently, Katie works as a Senior Associate with JLL consulting. There, she has helped lead the expansion of a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion program internally. In addition, she has also helped to integrate similar programs into the businesses of her clients. 

We were fortunate enough to catch up with Crepeau on Social Design Insights. Have a listen.


Social Design Insights would like to thank all those who make our weekly show possible: Baruch Zeichner, our Producer and Sound Engineer, Donna Read, for producing our video content, and Leah Freidenrich, Director of the Curry Stone Foundation. Our theme music for 2018 is "Alright With Me" by Reggie Young from his album "Young Street." The break music for this episode is "Cosmopolitan" by Joe Jackson from the soundtrack of "Mike's Murder."