On June 5, Meaghan Kennedy, founder and CEO of the design firm Orange Sparkle Ball announced the launch of Spark Corps. The non-profit offers young designers an intensive apprenticeship in design thinking as a means of approaching social problems, as well as training in business skills to prepare them for the competitive world of professional design work.
Spark Corps residencies, offered to graduate students or recent graduates in design, are two months long and require Corps members to work on projects for non-profit clients, from inception to execution. Corps members will receive training and mentorship in project and client management, presentation and problem solving skills, and design fundamentals. Each Corps member will oversee a project of their own, while working with other members to execute all projects. Partner institutions will work with Corps members to outline their project needs and their success measurements. Each project will be assessed on delivery and in a six month follow up assessment to determine long-term success of the project.
The first class of Corps members were hand selected through interviews and consultations. Future Corps members will be selected through recommendation or through an online application. Each will receive a considerable stipend for their residency.
"Young designers rarely get the opportunity to develop their skills on real world projects." Said Spark Corps founder Meaghan Kennedy, "Spark Corps is dedicated to give designers the chance to work with important organizations in addressing their needs while learning the rigorous thinking that leads to long-term success. This will be an intense two months, but successful Corps members will graduate prepared for any design workplace."
The first Spark Corps projects include Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA), Atlanta’s public transit system. Corps members have been tasked with developing an identity campaign for the MARTA Army, a guerilla group created to support MARTA ridership.
"The MARTA Army is a local civilian group that represents grassroots transit initiatives and events that support increasing interest in public transportation. What we are looking for is a visual voice and brand to represent a new breed of people." said Alison Tallman . "We are thrilled to partner with SparkCorps. The combination of these young creatives paired with the leadership of Orange Sparkle Ball is exactly the kind of fresh perspective we are looking for. We have high expectations and can’t wait to see all the wonderful ideas become visual ones."
The inaugural group of Spark Corps members include Allie Miller, who will oversee the coordination and implementation of Spark Corps design projects in addition to managing social media content. Allie is currently pursuing a Master of industrial design for the Georgia institute of Technology and holds a B.A. in fine arts from Mount Holyoke College. Prior to Spark Corps, she worked in various healthcare environments including public health, clinical healthcare, and healthcare policy. When she’s not designing, Allie is a volunteer with The Biomimicry Institute, world traveler, and an avid baker. Grace Cha, currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Industrial Design at Georgia Tech. She also holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. She is interested in designing products and experiences for social good. In her free time, she loves to travel the world, decorate her apartment, and models for various hair stylist education events.
Meaghan Kennedy, Spark Corps Founder, has a range of professional expertise, particularly at the intersection of design, public health, and social good, and is considered a leader in innovative management. After an initial career as an epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Meaghan went to graduate school in Industrial Design at Georgia Institute of Technology and founded the visual communications studio, Orange Sparkle Ball, in 2001. The studio focuses on providing strategic solutions, using a wide range of communication tools. Over the years, Meaghan has steered Orange Sparkle Ball to work with both academic and health organizations and increasingly take on socially conscious projects.
The studio's environmental projects span designing recycling/composting receptacles, communicating LEED concepts and assisting a professional women's sustainability organization. Material reuse is also an ongoing focus for the studio. Projects involve reusing Coca-Cola Fridge packs, shipping pallets and Henny Penny fryers. In addition, Orange Sparkle Ball was involved in creating an international digital reuse community, to highlight artists reusing discarded packaging in their work.
Orange Sparkle Ball helped the Bronx Academy of Letters, a Middle and High School in the Bronx, with health and community fundraising and has provided work for a New York based social design collective, Live With Design, that organizes design professionals to provide pro-bono work to non-profits.
Orange Sparkle Ball's client list includes organizations such as The Coca-Cola Company, Chick-fil-A, General Mills, Novell, George Mason University, Emory University, and the Health Equity Institute at San Francisco State University.
Meaghan is a sought after speaker, covering topics such as design thinking and innovation, prototyping and entrepreneurship and is frequently asked to sit on innovation panels. She has led several classes and seminars, including Design Research Methods class at Georgia Institute of Technology and a Research Methods for Public Health Professionals seminar at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
For more information about Spark Corps or to arrange interviews or speaking engagements with Meaghan Kennedy, contact Kathleen Drohan at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 917-309-3100.