Nowadays the topic of how to involve design in social innovation and fulfill social responsibility grasp designers attention. Under the consistent support from enterprises like Markor Furnishing Retail, Mango V fund, Microsoft etc, we always explore the business mode based upon Cultural Innovation for Public Interest. The “2015 Milan-International Culture Maker Joint Exhibition” shared entrepreneurial and social innovation stories including “Elephant”, “Suoshuo”, “HuaYaohua”, “Ya’an Home Settlement” etc. Behind these stories come out a group of young designers born in 1980s and 1990s. Their practices have drawn international attention.

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Nowadays the topic of how to involve design in social innovation and fulfill social responsibility grasp designers attention. Under the consistent support from enterprises like Markor Furnishing Retail, Mango V fund, Microsoft etc, we always explore the business mode based upon Cultural Innovation for Public Interest. The “2015 Milan-International Culture Maker Joint Exhibition” shared entrepreneurial and social innovation stories including “Elephant”, “Suoshuo”, “HuaYaohua”, “Ya’an Home Settlement” etc. Behind these stories come out a group of young designers born in 1980s and 1990s. Their practices have drawn international attention.

“Cultural Innovation for Public Interest” focuses on the utilization of regional cultural resources composed of handcraftsmanship, natural and historical heritage and lifestyle etc from backward regions, through design and social innovation to support traditional industries locally, promote new culture industry, solve employee problems locally and realize sustainable development of local resources. The essence of  “Cultural Innovation for Public Interest” lies in rejuvenate local industries and sustainable development of local culture, which designs for economically backward regions, for public security and post-disaster reconstruction, for diversified cultural ecology, for sustainable eco-environment and for all works of people to create the same happiness.

Elephantwasted cement bags designed for public interests

Elephant Branded is a brand for public interests establish solely by 26 years old British designer James Munro Boon. He make the wasted cement bags into backpack favored by young people through collection and recycling. The customer buy one ethically made, recycled bag or related product and we give one ergonomically designed school bag and kit to child in Africa or Asia. Such Production mode Not only do they recycle the local wastes, but also give them the opportunity to learn valuable skills which will positively and constantly changes the lives of local villagers and the children who receive the bags.

As a young and promising designer and entrepreneur, he has received a cordial meeting with US ex-president Bill Clinton because of his striking contribution in Public benefits and become entrepreneur for public goods among young generations owning fans overall the world. Besides, his outstanding brand operation capacity enable the rapid growth of Elephant Branded by establish stores not only in USA, UK, Germany, Canada, Malaysia etc but also setting up Elephant Branded Resort in Cambodia, giving the customer a chance to relax meanwhile visit the manufacturing and donating process of the bags and taking a deeper part in the whole program for public goods.

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Suoshuo: Entrepreneurship based on traditional handcraftsmanship

Originally from Tong Tao in Hunan Province and incubated by Markor Furnishing Retail Program, Suoshuo is a “social enterprise” dedicated to inherit and make innovations for  Dong Brocade Culture. Shuoshuo designers cooperate with local handicraftsman of Dong Brocade to create new development opportunity based on cultural advantages and local resources in a bid to establish a “countryside lifestyle” value system oriented by cultural innovation and design.

Suoshuo has established long-term cooperation relationship with local craftswoman in a sustainable operation work, they are guaranteed with fair salary, flexible work time, interactive community cooperation such as periodical handcraftsmanship exchange and training for new product development etc. The profits made by the selling will be donated to the children chorus making the home-stay children live happily. Consumers can directly participate in the protection of traditional culture and public benefit activities through Suoshuo handcraftsmanship.

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In 2015 Suoshuo team has initiated “Huayaohua” program in Long Hui Hunan province. The platform of intangible cultural heritage knowledge and photographic design are already finished, this summer, a another group of international designers will go to the local work base to develop cultural products with “Huayaohua” handcraftsmanship as its emphasis.

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 Ya’an Tea Culture Brand: post-disaster social innovation for public good 

Ya’an Home Settlement Program originates from the cooperation between Mango V Fund and “LotusPrize”. V Fund solicits reconstruction plan in “LotusPrize” after 1 year of Ya’an earthquake. The joint team of students and teacher from Hunan University, Tsinghua University and Si Chuan Fine Arts Institute continue its Ya’an Home Settlement Program a social innovation plan with “Loving Charity and assistance”, “design assistance and sustainable operation” as its purpose based on the “LotusPrize” awarded design.

After several times of research and practices, in order to deeply integrate post-disaster reconstruction work undertaken by local government, program team choose Yingjing sand utensils industry. Through the redesign and refinement of Black sand utensils, it has gained substantive leap and integrated with the development of local expo, sand utensils experience, sand utensils tourism etc which attracts young people go back to work and promote the revitalization of sand utensil culture and industry.

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