When I am asked “Why did you want to get into teaching?” my answer was often about making a difference, or creating an impact in education. That, and the fact that I also enjoyed working with young people who are still trying to figure out their goals in life.
Joining Ci.Strategy+Design, as an Educator-in-Residence, taught me a lot about Design Thinking, Entrepreneurship, Solution-Based Thinking, and more importantly, how to work with people to make an impact in the spaces you’re in.
What is Impact???
Google defines “impact” as: have a strong effect on someone or something.
Our individual definition of impact can vary, from grand humanitarian acts that very few can compete with, to small acts of kindness that many of us can encounter on a daily basis. Mustefa Jo’shen, my partner at Ci.Strategy+Design, defines impact as “a third stage of a life-cycle, that begins with awareness, followed by engagement, which is measured by impact. That represents a change in the status quo.”
One of the most prominent social justice activist and Muslim women that I constantly look up to for meaningful and impactful work amongst many communities is Linda Sarsour. Her work is a constant source of inspiration to me and millions of people out there. To me, her impactful work goes through the cycle that Mustefa describes above, which is that it starts off with awareness. Sarsour constantly creates awareness campaigns about issues and causes that are meaningful to the communities, and puts urgent political and social issues at the forefront of her platform to educate and show people what’s at stake. Then she engages with the work, which means she actually goes and is on the ground doing the work herself, such as her most recent project, as an organizer for the #WomensMarch that occurred last Saturday January 21.
Work, any work, can be impactful. It’s up to us how to design experiences for the people we work for, the culture we’re in, and the people we serve, to make sure that the work that we do makes a difference.
These days, I am learning a lot about helping people create an impact and making a difference.
How to Create an Impact
- Understand the needs of others: We can’t begin to make a difference without knowing what problem needs to be solved. When working with schools, organizations, or companies we need to first understand the need of the stakeholders, and what they’re looking for.
- Be Flexible: It takes a bit of flexibility, and even some patience, when working with others, and figuring out the work process. This is worth the work, because often times, the bigger the impact, the more flexible we need to be.
- Little Steps, Big Difference: Don’t be discouraged by the how long the process and the timelines usually take. Often times, it takes quite a bit of time to work on and build something that is truly impactful. Also remember that those little milestones throughout the process, often make a big difference too.
If this sounds interesting to you, and you’d like to collaborate together, send me an email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also check out the work we’re doing on our website. (We are doing research on our new design, and it can be accessed on a desktop).