• Want to Design for Impact?

    Looking to make an impact in the San Francisco community but only have a weekend to spare? Look no further, BarnRaise is just around the corner.

    Whether you consider yourself a creative, a maker, an ideas person, or are just plain curious, this is the opportunity to work with a local San Francisco community organization, on a tangible opportunity, while being led by experts in the design process.

    What is BarnRaise?

    BarnRaise is a maker conference that brings together design firms, community organizations, and people interested in designing solutions for the communities in which they live.

    Started by the Institute of Design in Chicago, the San Francisco BarnRaise is being organized and hosted by AdaptivePath.org and is a great way to make a difference in our community. Be part of the history in the making!

    This year’s theme is transformation:

    How might we create experiences that support people who are transitioning into a new chapter of life?

    That’s a BIG, TOUGH question.

    Here’s one example of how we’re will be using design thinking to solve a big problem and help a San Francisco nonprofit as they transition.

    Meet La Cocina & DesignMap

    La Cocina is an incubator in the Mission helping food entrepreneurs get their businesses up and running. They provide a mentorship program to teach the owners how to run a business and provide market opportunities and commercial kitchen space.

    What makes them truly special is their vision for  diversity in food and culture by supporting women of color and immigrant communities.

    A La Cocina entrepreneur’s story:

    Meet Guadalupe Guerrero, from Guanajuato. She lived and worked in the city, in other people’s restaurants, for 12 hours a day, 6 days a week.

    For 14 years.

    Another La Cocina business owner, Alicia, of Tamales Los Mayas introduced her to La Cocina by saying, “why make someone else’s dream come true, when you can make your own?”

    And so, El Pipila, Guadalupe Guerrero’s business and dream, was born.

    La Cocina has been helping people like Guadalupe successfully open businesses over the last 10 years–from food trucks, to farmers markets, to packaged food brands–and has opened 22 brick and mortar locations in the Bay Area.

    What’s next for La Cocina?

    It’s important for nonprofits to have diverse funding so they won’t be as negatively impacted by a decrease in funding from any one particular donor. Experts suggest that the majority of an organization’s funding should be comprised of several individual donors because they are likely to have donated based on a personal connection that, if cultivated properly, will ideally grow versus rather than diminish.”

    La Cocina gets creative and holds events that are popular with the community and potential donors. Just last weekend, they hosted La Lucha de La Cocina, a tribute to those who fight for what is important to them, especially all of their talented chefs.

    1,800 people attended the festivities, which included a fierce competition for the best tacos, lucha libre wrestling, and cultural dancing from the Mission Cultural Center. 18 of the 20 chefs were program participants or graduates of La Cocina.


    Though these events are successful, La Cocina’s big challenge is capturing and retaining donors. Which leads us to our design challenge:

    How might we help La Cocina create a membership program to build a sustainable revenue resource as they continue to grow?

    DesignMap is here to help!

    DesignMap  is a San Francisco based consulting firm that was founded in 1996 and also calls the Mission its home. Having hosted an afternoon to teach students from nearby First Graduate about design and launching a pop-up coffee shop to benefit the local Boys and Girls Club they’re crazy excited to pitch in with another local non-profit.

    DesignMap specializes in designing software for their clients. And they know that no software exists in a vacuum: there are people, processes, and organizations that can support success, or sidetrack it. So they work with their clients to find the root of their problems and the breadth of their opportunities, and then partner with them to create solutions beyond just their software needs.

    DesignMap will be leading La Cocina and the rest of the team through the design thinking process to determine how to bring this membership program to life.

    The best way to learn design thinking? Experience it first-hand!

    The BarnRaise is Sept 9th through 11th(registration). In the upcoming weeks our La Cocina + DesignMap team will be conducting research interviews to understand why people do or do not donate. Then, we’ll kick off the weekend with the rest of our team (that could be you!) and start exploring and prototyping ideas to bring La Cocina’s new membership program to life.

    In the city but can’t join for the full weekend? Register to join us at the Capital One Café on Sunday afternoon to see all of the design solutions for yourself!

    Bonnie Vig, is the team liaison for this team and a Principal Product Designer at Capital One.  She is an introvert who was tricked into attending an improv class where she visualized herself running out the door, but found out she secretly loves it.




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