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Can design change the world? Design Week Portland: Part 1

Design Week Portland is not simply a design festival. In its four years, the organization has understood its importance in not only furthering the design conversation, but how the industry and, by extension, the people and thinking can impart meaningful change.

A big part of Design Week Portland’s mission is to continually give back. Though it’s focused mainly on the Oregon city and surrounding region, there are universal truths about design that travel all over the globe and in many different areas of life and culture.

This year, we asked those on the Design Week Portland Main Stage one simple question: Can design impact positive change?

We talked to architects, professors, creative and agency leaders, journalists, artists, makers — people doing extraordinary things and thinking in extraordinary ways.

All those interviewed overwhelmingly agreed that design can change the world. The answers were both varied and interesting — focusing on the way that design tackles specific problems and how it can make the world a better place, especially in light of the challenges and polarization present.

Interviewees in Part 1 included:

  • Una Walsh, ECD, R/GA
  • Marcelino Alvarez, Founder, CEO, Uncorked Studios
  • Aniyia Williams, Founder, CEO, Tinsel
  • Jon Jackson, Partner, Work & Co
  • Adele Naude Santos, Professor, MIT
  • Thomas Wester, Creative Technology Consultant
  • Anya Fernald, Founder, CEO, Belcampo
  • James Keller, ED of Semiotics, Uncorked Studios
  • Emily Pilloton, Founder, Exec. Dir., Project H
  • Dave Otte, Partner, Holst Architecture
  • Randy Gragg, Journalist

Filmed outside Revolution Hall in historic Washington High School, Portland, Oregon.

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Doug Zanger

Doug Zanger is the Americas editor for The Drum. He leads the Americas editorial team’s content activity in the growing region. Based in Portland, Oregon, he is committed to sharing the most meaningful stories that benefit the global industry and its people. A Minnesota native, Zanger has covered a wide range of brands, issues and personalities, including Aloe Blacc, Seu Jorge, Wendy Clark, Susan Credle, Dan Wieden, Jeff Goodby and more. Fiercely dedicated to diversity, equality and talent, he has interviewed several women in leadership roles through his Exceptional Women of the World podcast.

All by Doug