Hometown – Pittsburg, PA
Occupation - Chair of the MFA program in Design for Social Innovation at the School of Visual Arts in New York and Founder of CommonWise, a social innovation design lab that launches and scales ethical enterprises.
Expertise – Social Impact Design and Strategy
Designer, business strategist and advisor - Cheryl Heller has a long and prolific career that has led her to specialize in the idea of innovation for good.
She’s the Founder of the design lab CommonWise, which brings together designers from different specialties to co-create new ideas and bring them to life. She also created and serves as the Program Chair for the “Design for Social Innovation” MFA program at SVA.
“I believe that the act of creation, and real innovation, are beyond labels, and can take place anywhere people take the time to understand the context of a challenge, and are willing to think about things in a new way.”
— Cheryl Heller, in Smithsonian Magazine, 2007
Cheryl is the former Board Chair and current Advisor to PopTech, a Senior Fellow at the Babson Social Innovation Lab, and the Lewis Institute, on the Innovation Advisory Board for the Lumina Foundation, and serves as an advisor to DataKind. She has also written for many publications on the subject of social innovation design and creativity. She created the Ideas that Matter program for Sappi in 1999, which has since given over $12 million to designers working for the public good. She also advised Paul Polak and the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum on the exhibit, “Design for the Other 90%.”
As a Judge Cheryl will apply her extensive knowledge of design and innovation to help determine the social impact and humanitarian potential of the inventions.