My favorite design critic, Alice Rawsthorn, has a great piece on the INDEX awards in the weekend New York Times. Alice shows why INDEX is giving awards to non-profits like Kiva which offer micro-loans to the poor, allowing them to grow out of poverty. Phillips won an award for a new wood-fired stove that cuts down on toxic smoke and pollution. Better Place won an INDEX for a new system of charging electric cars.

The why? Alice explains that design has evolved to design social systems that deliver services and experiences—that can be used to benefit people as well as entertain them. We call it Design Thinking in the US and Britain. Alice calls it “new design,” or “service design.” It doesn’t matter. Call it what you will.

Oh, The New York Times angle….The NYT published Alice’s thoughtful piece on design for alleviating poverty in its Fashion & Style section. They still don’t get it over there.

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