Design services for socially-driven clients

We accomplish our purpose through three main service lines: design, education, and research. We work with social enterprises, nonprofits, governments, NGOs, progressive corporates, multilateral development institutions, social venture startups, and academia. Our experience spans the water, sanitation, health, energy, agriculture, transport/mobility, food security, and entrepreneurship sectors across Africa, Asia, North and South America.

In every instance, we study and immerse ourselves in local contexts to gain insight into how a product or service integrates into daily life. We then conceptualize solutions and create prototypes to test directly alongside users to inform the final design. Finally, we analyze the market systems and business models that enable solutions to thrive and evolve.

Why Does Catapult Exist?

The constraints that inspire innovation exist in underserved and low-income markets but in many cases, products and service are not designed specifically for the context and lack understanding of a local markets. Catapult Design exists to fill this gap and bring good design to those who need it most.

“Lincoln, 22, who runs the IT room, says the Millennium Villages Project (MVP) plan to have one laptop for every child has been hampered by malfunctioning equipment and the inability of locals to fix machines when they break. ‘No one here knows how to fix them,’ said Lincoln, eyeing a pile of 78 faulty laptops. ‘[The MVP] have assured us that they will come, so we are waiting.'”

The Guardian, 2012

“The authors, Rema Hanna of Harvard University and Esther Duflo and Michael Greenstone of MIT, evaluated a clean-stove program in eastern India, covering 15,000 households over five years. Their study found that after the initial year, enthusiasm for the stoves waned and households didn’t make the necessary investments to maintain them. As a result, the programme had very little effect on respiratory health or air pollution.”

The Economist, 2012

“Regarding efforts to promote universal access, targeted World Bank ICT projects with the objective to directly promote target access for the underserved and the poor had limited success; only 30% have achieved their objectives of implementing universal access policies or increasing ICT access for the poor or underserved areas.”

The World Bank, 2011

"There are still people who believe that design is just about making things pretty. One of design's most fundamental tasks is to help people deal with change. Designers make disruptive innovations manageable and approachable, so that they can be embraced and assimilated into life."

Paola Atonelli
Senior Curator of the Department of Architecture & Design as well as the Director of R&D at The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City.

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