With design firms being purchased by larger corporate entities more frequently, what kinds of firms are left to push the envelope of design? I believe that it is the social design innovation firm. This is where the most space exists for a design firm to make a positive impact on people's lives. All have impressive client lists and I highly encourage you to get more information from their respective websites. Please let me know if I missed one. In the future, I will be keeping a watch on the work they are producing and the kind of impacts they are making.
Catapult Design - "We imagine a world where everyone has access to well-designed products and services that stimulate and sustain better lives. From concept generation to distribution strategy, our team of designers, engineers, and business strategists have the skills and on-the-ground experience to offer a comprehensive approach to product and service development for low income and underserved customers."
Services: Design [Products and Services], Education [Innovation Capacity Through Custom Trainings and Tools], and Research [Explore and Define Paths to Solve Complex Development Challenges].
Design Impact Group - "The Design Impact Group engages people, communities and organizations to foster creative solutions to the root causes and complex systems that limit economic opportunity and human potential. We combine the best skills in human-centered design and systems thinking to deliver sustainable impact in underserved communities around the world."
Services: Design Labs, Product and Business Prototypes, Service and Program Design, Innovation Strategy and Capacity Building
Reboot - "Reboot is a social impact firm dedicated to inclusive development and accountable governance. We help governments, foundations, and international organizations achieve their missions."
Services: Research, Design, Implement, Evaluate
D-Rev (Design Revolution) - "D-Rev exists to close the quality healthcare gap for under served populations by designing and delivering medical technologies."
Services: D-Rev owns the research, design, and development of our products and then partners with industry leaders to manufacture and scale for maximum impact.
International Development Enterprises (iDE) - iDE creates income and livelihood opportunities for poor rural households.
Services: Ag Water; Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene; Rural Marketing; Environment; Gender; Food Security; and Innovation.
Design that Matters - We are a non-profit that solves problems for and with the poor in developing countries using design.
Services: User-centered, context-appropriate design for social impact. Applications for new technologies and assists partners in implementing technologies.