Bill Gates, designer? Yes. Public Interest Design honors 100 global thinkers who are designing social good

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Good design has the power to improve lives. Yesterday, Public Interest Design — a group dedicated to design for social good — released the Global Public Interest Design 100, a list of 100 “designers” (including some people you really might not expect) who are designing for the good of all. We love this sweeping list of 100 architects, designers, policymakers, visualizers, funders and educators who — even if they have no design training — are changing the world with great design thinking.

“Lists like this are useful in shining a light on unseen leaders and unheard voices,” says John Cary, the curator of Public Interest Design, who worked with Autodesk to research the list and create an interactive graphic of it. The list offers a new lens on some favorite TED speakers and TED Fellows — because, it turns out, they’re designers. Below, a look at these honorees:

  • William Kamkwamba made the list for designing and building a windmill that brought electricity to his home and village in rural Malawi. Did we mention that he was 14 at the time? He shares the story in his TED Talk “How I harnessed the wind.”
  • Bunker Roy was honored for his Barefoot College, which seeks to make communities self-sufficient by teaching skills in energy, health, waste management and more. He talks more about his for-the-poor-only college in the talk “Learning from a barefoot movement.”
  • Amos Winter, who founded Global Research Innovation and Technology, made the list for his work on products like the Leveraged Freedom Chair. In this talk, he shares more about the development of this “Cheap all-terrain wheelchair.”
  • Zainab Salbi was honored for founding Women for Women International, which helps survivors of war recover from crisis. Her TED Talk “Women, wartime and the dream of peace” is simply incredible.
  • TED Fellow Jodie Wu’s Global Cycle Solutions has created a bike-powered maize sheller and phone-charger. These unique designs landed her a spot on the list.
  • Alastair Parvin was honored for his work on Wikihouse, an open source construction set that lets anyone build. His talk from TED2013, “The DIY house of the future,” will premiere on next week. Stay tuned.

Below, check out a static version of Public Interest Design’s Global 100 graphic. And head to to play with the interactive version »