five interventions I wish I authored or created

In Brazil, there are a lot of students who want to learn English and practice their spoken English with native speakers, but it is not easy for them to find those opportunities in their daily life. On the other hand, the seniors living in retirement homes got a big block of free time and have no idea what to do with these time. Especially when they stay at home by themselves, we usually feel longly and want to talk with someone. This project is about connecting the two groups of people via an exclusive digital tool that uses video chat technology to meet and talk to each other. “Students choose registered institution and topic suggested by the system, with the resulting conversations uploaded to a private YouTube channel for instructors to evaluate.” This solution is simple and benefits both of them. 

This project is my favourite because it was the first time to make me think of different types of design. I really like the way they build the communication bridge between two groups of people, which is using the resources we already have in this world instead of creating something new to solve a problem. I think it is a very smart solution and I wish I can do something smart the same.


Photographer Jonathan Diaz has founded the Anything Can Be project, to give hope and inspiration to these children, but also to raise funds for the fight against cancer through the sale of the book.

For little children, dreams are fancy and seem never out of reach, whether that be a princess or a Batman. But for some sick children, those dreams can seem further away, and this is the reason that photographer Jonathan Diaz has decided to use his talents to ensure those fantasies become a reality - he wants to use his photography to give those children something that they can look at and find hope and believe that anything is possible.

He explained: “I first had the idea for this project a while back when I took photos of my son who wants to be an NBA player. We were doing the photos and it made him so happy that I realised it would be a cool thing to do for children who had cancer.” Diaz asked the children what they would be if they could be anything. Their answers became the subjects for each fantastical photo. He printed all of the photos into a book and all royalties from the book will be donated to the Anything Can Be Project, which aims to continue doing these unique photo shoots.

I want to say this project really touched me. Those photos may not really help the sick children to win the battle with their cancer, but the experience is very meaningful for both the children and their family. They give them the hope. Also, it is really good to see that they utilise the royalties to continue their project. But I’m thinking maybe there is some opportunities for them in the future to combine the their project with some treatment program.


Lava Mae, founded by Doniece Sandoval, puts showers and toilets on retired buses to deliver hygiene and dignity for those experiencing homelessness. 

Sandoval said she was inspired to start Lava Mae after learning that there were only 16 shower stalls for the 3,500 plus homeless people who live on the streets of San Francisco. And one day when she saw a filthy homeless woman crying and saying she would never be clean, she was touched and hoped do something. Sandoval considers that if food could be made on trucks, putting showers and toilets on wheels should be able too. 

I like this program because the solution here not only helps those homeless people to have a chance to take a shower, but also deliver dignity to them. “With hygiene comes dignity; with dignity, opportunity.” Most of the homeless people cannot access jobs or maintain health and wellbeing when they can’t get clean. Sometimes we have to experience insurmountable difficulties in our life, we may lose hope, miss way, and even lose all the strength and courage. But we still need hope. This program gives them the chance to begin afresh for their life. 


Rosa's Fresh Pizza in Philadelphia has a “pay it forward” system. Customers can pre-purchase $1 slices for those in need, which are redeemed with a sticky note on the wall. Since that first pay-it-forward slice, they have given away almost 10,000 slice a pizza. Pre-purchased slices now represent a 10% of Rosa's business. “And it's having a remarkable impact on the community, showing not only that acts of kindness can be contagious, but also how a small gesture of support can have a ripple effect of positivity.”

People who pre-purchase the pizza would write their wish or anything they want to say on their “sticky notes”, and the homelessness will see the world when they receive the “pizza”. One day a young man came in and brought a lot of “pizza” for others. He said when he was suffering the insurmountable difficult situation, he ate a pizza here which made him feel full and warm. Later he found a job, the first thing is coming back to buy more pizza for others. 

I like this intervention because it let me know how individual behaviour can give a big impact to other people and even can infect the whole community to have the power to spread the social impact. . 


Every day, thousands of South Asian labourers arrive to Dubai to work for a better future. They live far away from home, and hope can hear their family’s voice everyday even just few minutes. But it’s hard because the high paid for making an international phone call. 

Coca-Cola noticed the demand for them and turned Coca-Cola bottle caps into currency. People can use one bottle cap instead of coins for a free 3 minutes phone call. 

I put this project on my list because I think this intervention is so smart. First, it helps those labourers to bring them happiness for the 3 minutes phone call - heartwarming. Second, recycle. They can gather the bottle caps and re-use them in other appropriate ways. Last, this project benefit for their brand building, not only good for selling, but also good for reputation.


I have read an article recently which named Innovation Starts with the Heart, Not the Head. There is one sentence there I really like - “Empathy is the engine of innovation.” I like these five interventions not only because those solutions can solve some kind of problems, but also somehow I’ve been touched during getting to know what they are doing. “Food” and “Hope” both are important for someone needs help, the only thing is to figure out how to deliver the “help”. This process really helps me to know what types interventions I’m interested in, and I’m so excited to know what I’m going to do with my thesis.

speaking exchange


“Speaking Exchange”, launched by FCB Brazil and the CNA language school network, is a language project which connects CNA language school students in Brazil with the seniors in the USA living in retirement homes. 














True heroes


"True Heroes" is a series of photographs by Jonathan Diaz, who portrays the dreams of children with cancer in dreamlike and poetic images. 





















"Lava Mae" — a nonprofit that turns old Muni buses into shower stalls to be used by homeless people.














Rosa's Fresh Pizza


Rosa's Fresh Pizza in Philadelphia has a “pay it forward” system. Customers can pre-purchase $1 slices for those in need, which are redeemed with a sticky note on the wall.

















Coca-Cola created the Hello Happiness Phone Booth -- a special phone booth that accepts bottle caps instead of coins for a free 3-minute international phone call, helping labourers connect with their families back home more often.