Tools for Innovation

Alumni in Action

I recently had an opportunity to speak with my friend and former classmate, Amy Dritz who graduated with a Master of Arts in Sustainable Design in 2014. She is currently living in Minneapolis, MN.

What are you currently doing or working on?

Co-founded Ecocrumb (an ESG-focused software startup) with fellow MASD alum Gautam Muralidharan

What is the most exciting or inspiring thing you’re working on now?

Designing Ecocrumb with and for business sustainability leaders. It’s been inspiring to talk to so many leaders who are passionate about sustainability and trying to make a difference at their companies. We want to help companies better track and report on their ESG metrics, and be able to offer insights to make responsible business decisions.

How have you applied what you learned in the program?

Whole systems thinking, human-centered design, and tools for innovation have been and continue to be things I apply in my daily work. These are incredibly valuable for any kind of design, but are especially valuable in a startup that’s constantly shifting and evolving.

What were the most important or useful things that you learned in the program?

I think I’ve come to appreciate even more the concepts of true-cost accounting, natural capital, and human capital. These have informed my vision for how businesses should operate.

What did you learn in the program that you wish everyone would learn?

Life cycle thinking – understanding that everything requires materials, energy, labor, etc. and has impacts upstream and downstream in the process. How and where are things sourced? How are they manufactured or built? How does the design affect the user’s impacts (e.g. water or energy use)? How long is something used to make all those impacts worthwhile?

What recommendations do you have for people considering a career in sustainable design?

I would say everyone can (and needs to) do sustainable design, no matter their profession. Since everything humans create is “designed”, we have opportunities to re-design everything for better outcomes. Question “the norm” and ask what is a better way to build cities, buildings, business models, products, services, etc.

If you had a magic wand and could completely solve one sustainability problem, what would it be?

Replace all carbon-based energy sources with renewable sources.

Dawn Keene / Director

Dawn Keene is the president of Studio Change, a company offering sustainability consulting services. Prior to Studio Change, Dawn has served as president of Keene Design, Inc. an award-winning Atlanta-based firm specializing in graphic design for over a decade.

Her previous affiliations have included High-Performance Healthy Schools Committee for USGBC Atlanta (United States Green Building Council), serving as the membership chair and on the sustainability committee for AIGA Atlanta (American Institute of Graphic Arts AIGA.) Her work has been featured on Sustainable Brands and published in Graphic Design U.S.A. In addition, she has participated in panel discussions on various topics such as environmental design and community outreach.

Her life mission is to empower communities and individuals to take positive action towards building a more sustainable future through education and community outreach. She holds a BFA in Graphic Design from Georgia State University and graduated from MCAD’s MA in Sustainable Design program in 2013.