SAIC Professor designs for the greater good.
For professional designer and SAIC Professor George Aye, design goes beyond the aesthetic: it can be a force for positive social change. Aye embodies that principle through his firm, Greater Good Studio, and recently he put it into practice by helping the Academy for Global Citizenship (AGC)—a Chicago charter school—use the design of its cafeteria to encourage students to make better food choices.
Design thinking begins with engaging people, so Aye and his team interviewed students and studied movement through AGC’s cafeteria. They discovered the design was rushing students, giving them limited time to browse and encouraging them to take more food than they needed.
So Aye and his team developed a serving system called Courses. Children enter the cafeteria and go straight to the tables, and lunchroom attendants serve four food items in separate bowls, timed five minutes apart.
Aye and his colleagues found that this system encouraged the children to eat more balanced meals, taking a little of all four items presented. Courses is a simple solution that solves the complex problem of helping kids make better food choices.
That’s design thinking—and it’s Beautiful/Work.