International Sustainability Club talks about recent trip to Bali


By Fritz Smith, MBA Candidate

Published 2.12.13


This year, Presidio’s International Sustainability Student Club chose to take their yearly trip to the island of the gods, otherwise known as Bali, Indonesia, in what proved to be a departure from more traditional trips in the past. The 12 Presidio students who made the trip applied a Human Centered Design (HCD) consultation toolkit, developed by, in working with multiple partner organizations in Bali. is the non-profit branch of IDEO, a consultation and design firm, whose focus is on social innovation and alleviating global poverty through its human-centered design projects. The International Sustainability Club took its newly acquired skills from’s office in San Francisco to address issues facing the organizations of Bali Recycling, JED tours, and Tri Hita Karana-Wow Bali.

Upon landing in Bali, our group split up into three teams to work with each of our designated organizations. One team worked with Bali Recycling, an organization dedicated to analyzing processes and creating solutions for waste and pollution reduction in order to preserve the island’s environment. Our assigned team worked with Bali Recycling through the framework of the HCD toolkit to understand how Bali Recycling could increase awareness and responsibility amongst the greater community about proper waste disposal.

Another team of Presidians worked with JED (Jaringan Ekowisata Desa), a local organization that runs a network of eco tours of villages in Bali and the neighboring island of Nusa Ceningan. Again using the HCD approach, our assigned team worked bilaterally with JED to figure out how they could communicate the value that eco-tourism provides to outside parties.

Lastly, a team was assigned to work with Tri Hita Karana - Wow Bali, an organization dedicated to preserving Balinese culture through teaching visual media skills and supporting permaculture in various ways, with a primary focus on preserving agrarian culture and organic farming practices for young and future generations. Our assigned team for this project worked with the organization to weave together the stories and motivations of its numerous partner groups, brainstorming tools for creative collaboration and streamlined communication.

Our various projects had us commuting all over the island, not only to work with our partner organizations, but also to interact with both locals and tourists for a full implementation of the HCD process. We worked against varied backdrops ranging from the breathtaking beaches, forests, rice steppes, and volcanoes, to the large landfills and waste sites not as commonly traveled, exposing us to the diversity and richness of Bali’s landscape and people as part of our daily travels and meetings. A noteworthy highlight of the trip also included collaboration with other HCD toolkit advocates who were in the process of applying and reviewing the HCD toolkit in projects throughout the world. We were able to share information and perspective with these HCD enthusiasts, which included a dinner where we briefed each other on our backgrounds, missions, and reflections on the process in general, in relation to our various projects.

In addition to benefiting from the environmental and cultural immersion of our stay in Bali, the ISC gained a rich experience in being able to establish positive relationships with its partner organizations and learning from them. The organizations we worked with appreciated our effort and overall impact in helping them address their challenges, as we were likewise thankful for them giving us the opportunity to collaborate and learn from their organizations. The ISC would like to give many thanks to Vanessa Roscoe and Ayaka Emoto for organizing and coordinating the trip to Bali, in addition to Sean Hewens and Viria Vichit-Vadakan of for allowing us to work with and experience the HCD workshop at the office. Again, we would like to thank Bali Reycling, JED tours, and Tri Hita Karana -Wow Bali as well for allowing us to partner with them, in addition to Sarah Vared and Danielle Ginach for helping us establish these partnerships. For more information on our projects, please visit the”Presidio Bali” project at the HCD Connect website to view our blog entries detailing our objectives and progress for each of our projects.

Overall, the trip was a huge success in learning on many fronts.  The ISC was able to provide feedback on the HCD process to upon returning to San Francisco, discussing which concepts worked best or presented difficulty.  The meeting further solidified  a working and learning relationship with, for the goal of applying the HCD toolkit for future club trips, such as a proposed trip to Chile in 2014.  In the end, Bali served as a great choice for this year’s trip, since it allowed us to gain a worldly perspective on similar challenges facing many destinations, regions, and nations throughout the world including challenges in waste management, land use, and the preservation of culture. The group members earned a lot from each other as well, in terms of working together in teams from diverse work backgrounds and personalities, which further bonded positive work relationships and friendships.

Fritz Smith, MBA Candidate

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