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Leveraging the power of design strategies to co-create a more just and verdant future

Rhea Alexander

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Who am I?

I have worked at the intersection of strategic design education, equity and environmental justice, and entrepreneurship for over 30 yrs on a mission to create positive change.

Early in my career, I sought to test triple-bottom-line values, founding Duchamp's Irreverent Guiding Spirit, inc. (dba D.I.G.S.), an award-winning design company working with sustainable materials and artisan cooperatives (1991), DIGS Design Agency (1995), working with USAid and S.M.E.s in global economic development, DIGS E-commerce (2000) supporting international impact designers enter the U.S. market, and eventually co-founded (2022), a global consulting cooperative helping organizations transition to more equitable practices while reimagining the agency model for more transparency and pay parity.


Setting my sights on the future, I became an educator, teaching students at the Parsons School of Design to approach challenges from a holistic systems perspective, considering their solutions' economic, social, and environmental impacts, and founded the Parsons Elab (2014), a design-driven research lab dedicated to innovation and entrepreneurship; an interdisciplinary space where external partners, students, faculty, and alums can collaborate on entrepreneurship initiatives exploring the intersection of design, technology, equity, and business. At the Elab, we conduct research, publish, run incubators and workshops, and provide resources and connections to the greater innovation ecosystem. We have helped launch successful ventures since its inception. Through mentorship, I encourage a new generation of more inclusive and responsible entrepreneurs to use their businesses as forces for good and spearheaded "A Design Driven Guide for Entrepreneurs: Strategies for Starting Up in a Multiverse," published by Routledge (2023), a practical guide for entrepreneurs integrating design strategies into their startup process to create more just and verdant organizations and communities.


To continue my work at the systems level, I collaborate on the board of the N.Y.C. Innovation Collective, focusing on creating pathways for underserved entrepreneurs.


I enjoy collaborations, giving talks, and facilitating workshops, so feel free to reach out!

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