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Designing Outside Your Comfort Zone



GLIDE Goods open for business in Freedom Hall at 330 Ellis St.

Editor’s note: These thoughtful reflections from Nick Crampton of the wonderful Adaptive Path team come as we’re in the midst of a re-stocking campaign for GLIDE Goods, the free store GLIDE has recently piloted with the help from the design crew referenced below. If you find yourself moved to learn more and to help the cause, please visit this page—and thank you!  

As a relative newcomer to San Francisco and the Bay Area, my first exposure to GLIDE came fairly recently, during a day of volunteering with GLIDE’s HIV/Hep C Prevention and Harm Reduction team and, subsequently, in a collaboration between my company, adaptivepath.org, and GLIDE that led to the piloting of the GLIDE Goods program.

Being passionate about social justice and equality, I have a bit of a knack for seeking out unusual ways of exploring a city I’m new to. What an experience working with the amazing team and program participants at GLIDE! It gave me an appreciation for the challenges faced by my new city and, in particular, by its underserved and marginalized populations. Without having worked with GLIDE, I likely would not have developed this new empathy so quickly or in quite the same way.


GLIDE Clinical Director Kenneth Kim assisting a program participant as he chooses items from our GLIDE Goods store.

From the first moment I stepped through the doors, I could tell this place was different.
The genuine level of caring and empathy for the program participants (for starters, the language choice of program participants) that each GLIDE staff member I worked with had was truly inspiring. I could feel the radical inclusivity in every conversation and interaction I had. I have never had the pleasure of working with an organization—either through volunteering or consulting—which so clearly lives its mission and values each and every day.
From that first day of volunteering, through my immersion in GLIDE’s culture during the subsequent collaboration on GLIDE Goods—which involved shadowing staff, chatting with program participants, attending Sunday Celebration, piloting a new service with staff and program participants, and much more—my team and I drew continual inspiration from the compassionate, dedicated and caring work that GLIDE and its staff do for the Tenderloin and San Francisco on a daily basis.
For those of you who would like to learn more, I wrote a blog post about my experiences collaborating with my team from adaptivepath.org and GLIDE staff to pilot the GLIDE Goods program: the lessons I learned about myself as a designer and as a human being, and how I hope others can apply what I’ve learned to their own work.


Nick Crampton is the Experience Design Lead at Adaptive Path.