About us: the basics

We are Marc Rettig and Hannah du Plessis. Marc was a co-founder of Fit Associates, now twelve years old. For the last six years, Hannah has been fellow principal of Fit.

We are in the midst of redefining the way our work is expressed in the world: identity, story, offerings, and intended impact. This site is our place to document that process, offer the results, and to invite you to engage with us along the way.

We also teach two graduate-level university courses.

Fundamentals of Design for Social Innovation, a first-semester course in the Masters in Design for Social Innovation at SVA in New York. (We are writing the fourth iteration of that course now. Here is a PDF of the syllabus for a past iteration.)

Foundations of social design, an elective course in the Carnegie Mellon University School of Design. Here is the syllabus site for that course.


About Fit Associates

Founded in 2005, Fit Associates has been a leader and influencer in the use of human, social, and artistic approaches for business and organizational questions. We’ve worked with everything from Fortune 500 corporations to non-profits and neighborhood associations, with the aim of helping situations to move from their current state to a resilient and more desirable state, whatever the complexity.

We are now driven by a single question: “How can we help the most people learn to apply the basic principles, skills, and methods of social pattern-shifting?”

Our experience has taught us that the real work is bigger than research, strategy, design, management and innovation. We’ve seen that most challenges in business and society don’t boil down to straightforward “solutions,” because they involve too many people, too much culture, and plenty of dynamic complexity. We’ve learned that the better answers usually emerge from among the people who live the challenge every day. We believe that you are the people best qualified to create what is best for your company, though you may need help discovering it. Which is why we now do the work we do.

Our clients include:

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About the principals

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Marc Rettig

Marc’s career spans more than 30 years in business, design, education and technology. His work as designer, researcher, and educator has put him on the frontier of applying design methods to social and strategic questions. He is a founding faculty member of the Masters in Design for Social Innovation program at the School of Visual Arts in New York, and a Distinguished Adjunct Professor of Practice at the Carnegie Mellon University Graduate School of Design.  Marc’s interests include cultural immersion, language, cooking and photography.
read more…

LinkedIn profile   |   @mrettig on Twitter

Hannah du Plessis

Hannah’s work blends business, design, community and the arts. This blend developed through eight years experience in community leadership in South Africa, ten years of design leadership (including partnership in a firm), and consulting experience in the U.S., Europe and Africa. She is a founding faculty member of the Masters in Design for Social Innovation program at the School of Visual Arts in New, and a Distinguished Adjunct Professor of Practice at the Carnegie Mellon University Graduate School of Design. Hannah has also taught at the School of the Art Institute in Chicago, the University of Pretoria, and Cedim in Mexico. She holds degrees in Fine Arts and Interior Design, and a Master of Design Methods from the Institute of Design at IIT. Hannah’s desire to see groups of people working from a deep sense of purpose and belonging and equipped to better the world was born as she grew up in apartheid South Africa.
read more…

LinkedIn profile   |   @Hannahdup on Twitter


Key Relationships

We’re small, but we can act pretty big when we need to. We’ve developed key relationships with like-minded firms all over the world, with a leading academic program, and with an assembly of seasoned experts. We’ve worked out the logistics ahead of time, so we can quickly assemble teams and get to work on your behalf.

SVA Masters in Design for Social Innovation

Fit Associates’ principals are both founding faculty members of the groundbreaking Masters in Design for Social Innovation program at the School of Visual Arts. Together they teach the Fundamentals of Design for Social Innovation course. The program and the course give us a community and the time to extend the theoretical underpinnings of our work, and New York City as a lab for exploring the edge of practice with our students.

Carnegie Mellon Graduate School of Design

Carnegie Mellon has recently redesigned its design masters program to include questions of social complexity and organizational and societal transition. Fit is proud to be part of their exploration into this new practice, and the practice of preparing students for such groundbreaking work.

Commonwise

Commonwise is our partner in working with leaders on difficult challenges of great impact. From their site: “CommonWise is a consortium of partners with diverse expertise in research, strategy, communication design, interaction design, prototyping and implementation. We work with visionary leaders to imagine and co-create new ideas for what is possible, then engage all stakeholders in making them reality. We believe that the most effective design works at a systems level, transforming human behavior and capacity. From inspired, aligned and capable stakeholders come innovative and enlightened ideas and behavior.”

REACH Global Design Research Network

We are pleased to be members of the REACH Global Design Research Network, because it means we can quickly organize local fieldwork anywhere in the world on behalf of our clients, and because it puts us in the distinguished company of an amazing network of design research firms. The Reach Network helps its clients develop holistic global insights from connected local studies, conducted by people who combine deep local expertise with a global perspective. Fit is the U.S. partner. Other partners are in Brazil, France, Netherlands, Denmark, UK, Spain, Hungary, Russia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, and India.

Rosenfeld Experts

Marc Rettig is one of the “Rosenfeld Experts.” Rosenfeld Media has assembled an amazing group of experts in the work of designing and developing great products and services. Their expertise includes a wide range of seminars, courses, and consulting services. For Fit and its clients this means we can quickly draw on a pool of known experts in many specialties to serve as pre-vetted answers to our clients’ needs.


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