October 2020
How Can We Be Altruistic Designers In The COVID-19 Pandemic?
<a href="https://sundbergferar.com/author/lynnaea-haggard/" target="_self">Lynnaea Haggard</a>
Lynnaea Haggard

Industrial Designer, Marketing & Communications

Have you ever heard yourself or others say “I wish I didn’t care so much”? While caring can occasionally feel overwhelming (especially these days), don’t let it get you down! Instead, take action on it and let it influence solutions to create change for the better. At Sundberg-Ferar, we embrace the need for new solutions, and we believe that caring is what ultimately pushes the world forward for good. 

We’re into creating win-win projects & products that support all players involved economically and socially. As industrial designers, we really see this as our fundamental job description. The team at SF has been acting on these founding values since 1934, and it’s this pillar of “paying it forward” that has underpinned the massive contributions Sundberg-Ferar has been able to make to the thought leadership of Michigan and the world over 86 years.

A global crisis like COVID-19 has only amped up this altruistic drive in our team. Since March 2020, we’ve been actively looking for companies to work with who are out to solve for the pain points we’re facing in our emerging lives post-pandemic. The work we’re doing even now with our clients, is addressing handwashing and sterilization solutions, autonomous mobility, robotics, the future of remote education, and more.

If you saw one of our most recent projects, you’ll know that we partnered with Michigan Virtual this year to find impactful solutions for remote learning in our state’s k-12 schools in 2020 and beyond. Through qualitative research and interviews with students, teachers, parents, and administrators in Michigan, we extracted insights on their experiences during the period of “emergency remote learning” that took place from March through June 2020. Now we’re looking to turn these insights into actionable strategies for the future of remote learning employing design as a powerful educational strategy to address some of the most prevalent challenges of Michigan’s educational system. Find key takeaways from our study in this infographic.

It turns out, Sundberg-Ferar cares A LOT about education, and paying it forward to the next generation here in Michigan. Several of our staff actively teach at Detroit’s College for Creative Studies, teaching Design Thinking, Product Design, UX Design and more to undergrad and graduate students. SF’s Manager of Innovation Strategy and Design, David Byron, is Director of the Michigan Design Council (MDC), an organization focused on attracting and retaining Industrial Design talent in Michigan through educational programs, competitions, and 1-on-1 mentoring with k-12 students. Many of our designers are personally involved with MDC programs; mentoring these youngsters and devoting their time as professionals to cultivate the creativity and design skills of the next generation.

Today, we’re seeing industrial design reach all corners of the world, and our team is so excited to be playing an active role. We’ve been able to work with clients and conduct research across rural areas of China and Africa, passing along the knowledge we’ve gained of innovation and robust product design to clients there. Even in these places far from home, our clients’ wisdom about the effects & benefits of innovation on their communities is deep. These are areas where the magic of industrial design & innovation strategy is a gift that just has to be shared. As our Innovation Strategy Manager, David Byron, has said: “Every good deed, every act of love, and every piece of knowledge we share with a friend, colleague, child or stranger, builds upon another and cultivates hope.” This hope is at work in all of our projects, especially in these trying times, to ensure a future where our world is more resilient and able to prevent the kinds of suffering we face today.

At Sundberg-Ferar, we thrive on our pillar of paying it forward. This isn’t just an aspirational pillar. This is the manifestation of the spirit and actions that are already at work in our team. Our people care deeply about leveraging our craft inside and outside of work to advance the social and economic fabric here at home, and for the world as far as we can reach!

Everyone – you and us – we have all done our work for various reasons: a paycheck, a passion, a problem, a person. Especially now in the pandemic, and as we define what life will look like in its wake, let’s not forget to design together for hope; hope for a future where the challenges we face today are no longer troubling, because we have designed a sustainable way forward.

If you’re looking for a strategic design partner who cares (maybe even a little too much), please reach out to us! We want to work with you and do what we do best to help create a better future for our world.

Email us at hello@sundbergferar.com or call 248.360.3800


Lynnaea Haggard

Industrial Designer, Marketing and Communications

Lynnaea Haggard, Industrial Designer + Marcom, has a natural passion for storytelling and building relationships. She started her college education in Journalism, but soon found her passion in switching to Industrial Design. Now she uses her industrial design and skills and enthusiasm for communication to support studio projects as well as design and develop Sundberg-Ferar’s marketing and communications materials. In her spare time, she does anything outdoors, reads, writes, and keeps her cello performance skills sharp.

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