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95 | Designing Intergalactically

Cheryl Heller is the Founding Chair of the first MFA program in Design for Social Innovation at the School of Visual Arts in New York, New York, and President of the design lab CommonWise. Over the span of her career, Heller has moved between the private and the social, and between practice and teaching. Throughout, she has been a leader in new ways of thinking about how design can be used.

95 | Designing Intergalactically

As a strategist, Heller has helped grow businesses from small regional enterprises to multi-billion global market leaders, launched category-redefining divisions and products, and designed strategies for hundreds of successful entrepreneurs.

Heller is the former Board Chair of PopTech, and a Senior Fellow at the Babson Social Innovation Lab. She created the Ideas that Matter program for Sappi in 1999, which has since given over $13 million to designers working for the public good, and partnered with Paul Polak and the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum to create the seminal exhibit, “Design for the Other 90%” in 2007.

In all it’s incarnations, Heller’s work asks “how do we get design to do more.” She recently gathered these perspectives into a book “The Intergalactic Design Guide: Harnessing the Creative Potential of Social Design” which offers jargon-free insights into the universal process of social design.

We also had a chance to speak with Cheryl on our podcast Social Design Insights. Have a listen below.


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 "Blackout Artist" by Analogue Transit from their album "Gearheart."