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In recent years, an increasing number of individuals and organizations have dedicated themselves to decreasing socioeconomic disparities. As the COVID-19 pandemic and Black Lives Matter movement revealed, however, there is still a long distance left to travel on the road to a more diverse and inclusive society. In this panel discussion hosted by the Royal Society for Arts, Manufactures and Commerce’s (RSA) Ian Burbidge, change makers Fred Brown, Christopher Murray, Courtney Savie Lawrence and Roya Mahboob discuss their efforts to use design, innovation and experimentation to help build a more equitable world.


Identify the pressing concerns of the moment and pivot to meet those needs.

When Fred Brown started at The Forbes Funds, he launched an analysis of the nonprofit sector in Pennsylvania to examine its effectiveness. Brown and his team started this process with a listening tour. Then, they partnered with The International Bateson Institute to produce “Warm Data Labs”: processes that reveal the interrelationships within complex systems. This information allowed them to consider how best to pivot programs to increase capacity and equity within the nonprofit sector. 

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and others prompted The Forbes Funds to adopt an anti-racism framework. At the same time, community leaders reached out to Brown about the dearth of COVID testing for people of color (POC) in Pittsburgh, PA. Brown gathered stakeholders and scientists to work in partnerships with city officials to increase testing. In the end, they launched eight task force teams, not only to handle COVID-19, but also to examine underlying health issues in POC ...

About the Speakers

Ian Burbidge is associate director of the RSA Lab. Fred Brown serves as the president and CEO of The Forbes Funds. Christopher Murray is CEO of the Young Brent Foundation. Courtney Savie Lawrence is the co-founder and project lead for the Circular Design Lab based in Bangkok. Roya Mahboob is the co-founder and CEO of the Digital Citizen Fund.

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