• What tools and frameworks would be helpful in creating a sustainable business hub?

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    By Scott Boylston

    While the last post shared the design work created by a SCAD Sustainable Practices in Design team focused on the physical attributes and the general operations of a sustainable hub for Accelerate Savannah, this post shares another team’s work, which focused on the second question:

    2: What tools and frameworks could help such a hub effectively accelerate existing collaborations in sustainable sectors of the Savannah economy?

    Teammates Jorie Ballun, Caleb Sexton, and Hina Shahid identified three sustainable sectors in Savannah that could provide the greatest opportunities to fulfill market need due to the already existing energy within these sectors: renewable energy, local craft, and food production. Each sector exists in an increasingly vibrant state in Savannah, and can contribute local infrastructure and economic gain.

    Because there are existing experts, activists, and organizations in Savannah that have been working for decades in these sectors, the team approached their task with a great deal of humility. In fact, the SCAD classes have taken note of the Solution Economy framework that acknowledges the need for new partnerships and collaborations between uncommon partners to address large scale societal ills (below). The goal for this team was simply to visualize their understanding of the emerging opportunity spaces in Savannah to encourage those within these space to further shape the models with content-specific information as a means of furthering the exciting dialog already occurring.

    FOR EXAMPLE: HOW CAN THE HUB AMPLIFY SUCCESSES OF SAVANNAH’S EXISTING FOOD SECTOR?

    While preliminary design research and development was performed in all three sectors, the focus in this blog is on the local food sector, not only because food touches every person in direct ways, but because the energy in the local food sector in Savannah has reached critical mass thanks to the efforts of groups such as Healthy Savannah, Forsyth Farmers Market, the Savannah Chatham Food Policy Council, SoGreen Network, Southeast African American Farmers Organic Network, Savannah Urban Garden Alliance, and WellFED.

    The SCAD team sees Accelerate Savannah’s role as one of amplifier, where Accelerate Savannah’s primary objective is to respond to the opportunities that the local food groups have already identified, and then to create innovative support initiatives. While SCAD’s Design for Sustainability and Design Management programs have long been involved in many facets of Savannah’s local food movement, this particular team only had ten weeks to explore early prototypes of some tools in order to facilitate this weave between the local food movement and Accelerate’s desire to support these local assets.

    The team developed a Value Proposition for an initiative to help push the local food activists further, while also looking at an Opportunity Framework (Business Model Canvas) to understand the overall functionality, and a Proposition Framework (Lean Canvas) to visualize the problem/solution and approach. Lastly, a Value Chain model that explored operational flow and functionality was created, providing a series of future steps to address potential needs or issues. It’s important to note that what you see in each of these examples isa first attempt to define some characteristics of the local food movement—these are intended to take the present conversations further.

    This would not be a new food endeavor in Savannah, but a method of amplifying existing efforts. The Green Food Garden (GFG) project is for local citizens and their neighborhoods, as well as local businesses. It also serves local government and community organizations that are seeking to better connect “farm-to-table” urban gardens with local businesses while providing training and resources. The Green Food Garden initiative would leverage local partnerships and community resources for educational and workforce development training to empower the use of urban farming within Savannah and growth within the food sector of the desired green economy. This would be done through a membership-based initiative, training programs, incentive-based neighborhood competition, and “farm-to-table” retail relationships with local businesses. The essential pieces are already in place on the site of Southern Pine, with Design for Ability’s young food training program housed in a large educational greenhouse designed and built from reclaimed materials through a collaboration with Emergent Structures. Meagan Hodge developed the training greenhouse project as a part of her Final masters project in the Design for Sustainability program at SCAD.

    The Proposal Framework helps to look at the situation at hand by framing the problem and solution while also helping to identify metrics for projects. Furthermore, it helps to establish not only the value of the project but what makes it unique and unlike other existing entities.

    The Value Chain helps to illustrate the inputs, activities, and outputs of the GFG project. The inputs provide an entry point into the GFG where members and benefactors come into to provide resources and set up for the activities that take place. The activity section is where the core of the GFG project works by focusing on three areas: Education, Community, and Economy. The output section targets market outputs through produce sales and employment outputs by helping those within the training programs enter the workforce.

     

    HOW DOES THE HUB WORK WITHIN THE PRESENT WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT ENVIRONMENT IN SAVANNAH?

    Finally, as a result of the conversation around Entrepreneurship and its implications, the class renamed this tier to “Enterprise Development,” as it offered a broader scope of opportunity. Another insight that came from the midterm presentation was that much of the Soft Skills and Vocational training would take place externally of the Hub through already existing organizations and agencies, while the Hub and Accelerate’s focus largely rested within the Trade, Knowledge, and Enterprise domains.

    In 2009, a collaborative effort to obtain a Department of Labor Pathways Out of Poverty grant for Savannah succeeding in developing an awareness of existing networks and potentialities, and some of the content developed for this application has been integral to the understanding of the opportunities to strengthen and further develop this network.

    This framework is designed to be a tool to illustrate the depth of possible projects and initiatives that take place within Accelerate Savannah’s HUB and illustrates how groups can move into or out of the HUB. The Shell is broken down into five categories, each of which focusing on a key area of workforce development and the green economy. Within each of these five sectors lie networks of community resources that can be aligned and partnered with to execute a project. The color strands provide a visual aid of the complex depth that some projects may have while the gray sections in between provide points of entry between levels. The arrows illustrate the many entry and exit points for stakeholders who are engaging with a project associated with the HUB.

  • What would a hub for a sustainable economy look like, and where might it be located?

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    By Scott Boylston

    This is the second of 4 posts that delineate the efforts made by the Sustainable Practices in Design classes at SCAD to help members of Accelerate Savannah shape a green jobs economy in Savannah. With the task of exploring potential locations and operational models of a “sustainable hub,” the class homed in on three questions, the first of which was:

    1: What kind of physical space would best serve the objectives of the hub, and where in Savannah does such a place already exist?

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  • Next Steps Toward a Green Economy

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    By Scott Boylston

    For five months over the course of the last year, two SCAD Sustainable Practices in Design classes have worked with members of Accelerate Savannah to further their endeavor of fostering the growth of Savannah’s green collar economy. Accelerate Savannah’s intent is to help create, retain and grow sustainability-focused jobs in the region. Primary objectives of this effort include creating an inclusive economy that empowers the chronically underemployed, and permanently retaining some of the creative energy that passes through local colleges and universities.

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  • seed till fork

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    by Kelly Vormelker

    Approximately one year ago, I competed my Masters in Design for Sustainability at SCAD. My final project focused on the relationships between small local farms and restaurants. Since graduating, I have continued to work within the local food scene of Savannah. I have continued my work at local 11ten, a restaurant that sources the majority of its product from local farms, I became a market manager at the Forsyth Farmer’s Market and I represent Savannah River Farms by selling their all natural beef, pork, poultry and lamb to local restaurants. I am excited to be a part of this changing scene and I continually look for ways to work within and improve it.

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  • A Saga for Savannah

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    By Nicole Andrews, Jerome Elder, Liz Lukken and Santiago Castillo

    When determining how to define SA/GA for the community of Savannah, we drew inspiration from the origin of the word saga. The term saga was used to refer to Scandinavian epics that depicted battles, victories, feats, and journeys. Having knowledge that the word refers to an epic tale of victories, we wanted to encapsulate the spirit of Savannah’s rich cultural history into what defines SA/GA.

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  • Modeling Opportunities for a Sustainable Economy

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    By Jorie Ballun, Caleb Sexton, and Hina Shahid

    During tour mid term presentation our team had outlined a process for Accelerate Savannah to develop sample ‘initiatives.’ The first step being selection of key partners, the second step was to identify the opportunity, model the opportunity, develop contracts and fifth step; recruitment of associates.

    The three identified sectors were food, energy, and craft. The three sectors were chosen based on the need and awareness in the community, and the energy already existing in the Savannah community in these sectors. These three sectors exhibited the most potential for green job development and placement. These sectors have the potential to grow and expand locally providing opportunities for green work force development and incubation of enterprise. Our team set out to map one initiative as an opportunity in each sector from a project depth perspective in terms of Savannah’s existing infrastructure, the businesses and entities.

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  • What’s YOUR SA/GA?

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    By Nicole Andrews, Jorie Ballun, Santiago Castillo, and Jerome Elder

    Pulling two ideas together and forming one team was a challenge yet we were able to form a consistent stream of ideas and plan to pioneer forward into uncharted waters. Merging the concept behind iDentify Savannah and the implementation of a local currency, we were able to form a basic plan for a new brand to emerge for Savannah.

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  • A 5 Tier Development Model for Community Innovation

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    By Jorie Ballun, Caleb Sexton, and Hina Shahid

    Building on our earlier concept, and further research into workforce development literature, our team added a fundamental base to our system: soft skills, which include life skills, resume development, basic literacy, and math skills, as well as writing, computer, oral presentation, and finance skills. With the inclusion of this foundational layer, the system is complete from basic development up to the entrepreneurship level. As developing these soft skills is outside of the project scope of Accelerate Savannah‘s sustainable hub realm, it will be essential to partner with Savannah’s existing resources.

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  • Accelerating in Savannah: Home for a Hub?

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    By Santiago Castillo, Caroline Ingalls and Arielle Vilardo

    Introduction

    The following is a conceptual design for a physical hub that would support Accelerate Savannah‘s vision of a vibrant and inclusive economy in Savannah: offices, maker space with a merchandise shop, display spaces, rental spaces for developing businesses, educational classrooms, and studio spaces. The Southern Pine Company of Georgia’s gorgeous industrial warehouse, situated at the cross of East 35th and Broad Street, perfectly fits the bill for Accelerate Savannah’s rapidly developing ‘Hub’ concept. This post is not intended to announce that the hub will reside on this site; only to provide a glimpse of what it might look like if it did. At approximately 18,000 square feet of building area, the space is bursting at the seams with opportunity to boost Accelerate’s vision of becoming a business incubator that promotes the collaboration of sustainable minds for the benefit of the community.

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  • Invent/Reinvent. Imagine/Reimagine. SCADpad.

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    By Scott Boylston

    Since 2011, the Design Ethos blog has been committed to sharing stories about reinventing the designer’s role in society around a suite of ideas focused on social innovation, sustainability, empowerment, facilitation, and co-design. As a proud DESIS Lab, the Design for Sustainability program at SCAD remains deeply embedded within the Savannah community, continually facilitating ways in which the power of design thinking can transform lives and livelihoods. The ongoing conversation about nurturing the growth of an equitable and sustainable economy in Savannah will continue. Today, we’re expanding that conversation to share another project that fits into the realm of social innovation, sustainability and reinvention, this one is beyond the borders of Savannah.

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