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Design Swarms for Digital Inclusion

February 4 @ 9:00 am - 5:00 pm

Design Swarms Workshop for Digital Inclusion: Bridging the Digital Divide

Today, the ability to access and utilize digital technology is essential to a having successful career, becoming empowered, and being an engaged citizen. Sadly, not everyone has access, and a widening digital divide separates the privileged members from the less privileged –  the poor, rural, elderly, disabled, and so on. It is these disadvantaged people who have the most to gain from digital technology yet are excluded the most. This is a global trend that is increasing, and at is odds with creating more just and compassionate future.

On December 17th, we will host a Design Swarms Workshop in the fabulous Galvanize Underground make dent in this hard challenge. We will bring the brightest minds in Seattle –  designers, artists, technologist, social scientists, stakeholders and we will lean on the deep technical and entrepreneurial skills of the Galvanize community. We are limiting this to a select group. We want you as part of this event.

Design Swarms Workshops 

Design Swarm Workshops are a facilitated hackathon-like innovation process in which agile teams solve hard customer problems in very short time to create a Minimum Viable Experience (MVX). Teams are facilitated through design thinking sprints over the course of a few hours, and as they solve the problem they also learn and practice cutting-edge twenty-first century design techniques. Participants also learn how to pitch and convince others to support or fund a creative idea. Design Swarms Workshops are fun, high-energy experiences in which participants bond with colleagues, and make new connections. 

Design Swarms Workshops are becoming popular in business, non-profit and education settings. In recent months, Amazon, Autodesk, Microsoft, Net Impact, MSR, Nippon Foundation, Clinton Global Initiative the University of Washington, the Industrial Design Society of America, and AIGA have participated in Design Swarm Workshops domestically, as have companies and design groups in Hong Kong, China, Australia, and Europe.

Design Swarms Workshops have resulted in innovations in hard problems like homelessness, refugee crises, water borne diseases, ocean pollution, aging, and disaster relief. 

Reasons to Attend

  1. Learn and get inspired by a new design thinking and innovation process in just a day
  2. Learn to use the Design Swarms Canvas and Toolkit
  3. Practice and make mistakes in a low risk and supportive environment 
  4. Build your network by working with talented, passionate people you might never have met before
  5. Learn to quickly understand the needs of a customer they you have not designed for previously
  6. Work on a problem of social relevance, and build your portfolio
  7. Interact remotely with design leaders worldwide during the workshop
  8. Receive a Design Swarms Workshop certificate and LinkedIn badge
  9. Win a prize
  10. Free catered lunch
  11. Private tour of Galvanize
  12. Free ticket to closing party

About the Swarm Leader:

Surya Vanka is a designer, corporate leader, educator and author who has worked at the leading edge of designing physical and digital experiences for over twenty-five years.


Surya Vanka is a designer, corporate leader, educator and author who has worked at the leading edge of designing physical and digital experiences for over twenty-five years. He is founder and principal of AUTHENTIC, a design consultancy in Seattle. He was previously director of user experience at Microsoft. Prior to Microsoft, Vanka was a tenured professor of industrial design at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, a fellow at the prestigious Center for Advanced Study and he authored two books on design. Surya is an accreditor for university curricula in the United States and Europe, leads cross-company design initiatives and serves on the advisory board of DMI (the Design Management Institute) and board of Design in Public. Vanka is frequently invited to keynote the most prestigious conferences, and has won top speaker awards three times. His work has appeared in numerous publications and news programs, including TED Talks, Form, I.D., Design Council, WIRED, Interactions, the BBC and National Public Radio. Vanka initiated and was part of the core team that created the DMI Design Value Scorecard, and is the creator of a lightweight, agile and adaptable design technique called Design Swarms – both of these practices are quickly being adopted in business, nonprofit and education across the world.


What participants of previous Design Swarms Workshops said:

I learned a lot and had a very enjoyable time. I also felt it was very applicable to everything that I have been learning in the Design and Innovation Club at the Yale School of Management.

Every aspect of the workshop was hosted excellently. Our team worked well together. While fatiguing, I found the overall experience tremendously rewarding.

I loved the collaboration with other team members, and other teams, networking. Facing an interesting new challenge with a bunch of strangers.

It’s a rare treasure to find a shared visioning and outcome-driven process that crosses the divides of political and social lines so effectively.  

I loved the Swarms process, the ability to work with people from different companies, the facilitation throughout the process and the ability to work on a problem for social good.

My favorite part was getting to swap ideas with the other teams and collaborate intra-team.

It was my first swarm and wasn’t sure what to expect. Loved working and meeting new people in solving important issues that make an impact for clean water solutions for those most in need.

I loved the opportunity to work with folks from various industries. Also, loved the stealing of ideas.

The collaboration among peers, navigating the needs of each person in the group, and eventually understanding a solution to work toward. Team work with strangers, intense sense of competition and focus on real life situations.

I had several favorites: Coming together as a team to develop a solution with a real, potential impact for people in deep need. Seeing the brilliance of each person as they worked in teams. Observing a community just embrace working together. Following Surya’s guidance as he led us through the Swarm process. Really learning a new approach to a process I’ve been through before with a lot better effectiveness and outcomes. Love of our community to work together


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February 4
9:00 am - 5:00 pm
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Seattle , WA 98104 US
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