Empathy – for each other and our collective challenges

About Us


What is Design Dream Lab?

  1. We are an eclectic and vibrant Community. A place to make genuine and sustainable Human connections.

  2. We are a “Laboratory” to freely explore and experiment with what Design Thinking is, and what it can be—without the constraints of organizational bureaucracy.

  3. We are a “School” that teaches empathy-based problem-solving.

  4. We are Co-Creators who collaborate with companies, organizations and individuals to solve meaningful problems in mutually beneficial ways.

  5. Design Dream Lab is a nonprofit project under Prime Produce Limited, a New York City 501(c)3 not-for-profit. DDL events are most often held at Prime Produce’s Coop.


Our Mission + Purpose

Build a purpose-driven community based on empathy by applying human-centered design:

  • We believe that fostering empathy for each other and our collective challenges—is how we solve the problems that ultimately change the world.

  • We want every dreamer to take opportunities to explore and discover his or her own path by applying the human-centered design process and grounding themselves on empathy.

  • We envision having community partners to work with dreamers where we will apply design thinking process to solve their tough challenges.

  • We want to provide our Design Dream Lab community members with the necessary training and tools to serve their own communities and be able to fulfill their own dreams as well.


Our Shared Values

  1. We believe in the transformational power of Empathy.

    • At DDL, we believe in empathy—for each other and for our collective challenges. This is how we believe we can solve problems that can ultimately change the world for the better.

  2. We are Compassionate.

    • Empathy, by definition, requires compassion. At DDL, we strive to be patient and kind. We listen. We pay attention. We notice the details. In little ways, and not so little ways, we care.

  3. We are Open.

    • We bring a child-like beginner’s mind to everything we do. We welcome people from all walks of life and career backgrounds. We seek out inspiration from academia, business, the arts and everywhere in between.

  4. We are Committed.

    • We understand that creating meaningful change takes sustained effort. We give DDL our greatest gifts—our stories, our expertise, and our time—and we give them consistently. Because in the end, DDL is only what we make of it.

  5. We believe we can Change the World.

    • DDL yearns to make a positive impact in our communities and beyond. To achieve this, we must have a bias toward action. To Do, rather than Talk About Doing. To think like an entrepreneur and rapidly prototype a better future for us all.


Rules for Projects the DDL community gets involved with:

  1. Each project has a clear purpose and deadline.

  2. Each project inspires and excites community members.

    • This will be tested by sharing potential projects to our monthly gatherings, conducting a brainstorming session for each project, and gauging the level of inspiration and excitement for each project.

  3. Establish a team of community members inspired by the purpose of the project to take the lead in driving and implementing the project.

  4. Ensure everyone on the team has specific roles for contributing to the project's co-creation.


Ways DDL serves its members and community

  1. Monthly gathering (2nd Sunday of every month from 11 AM to 2:30 PM except for May when we observe Mother’s Day and gather on the following Sunday)

    • Purpose:

      • Create opportunities for Dreamers to connect face-to-face, deeply with

        one another, build genuine relationships, share talents, and learn about

        opportunities to add value to the communities we serve.

    • What is offered during the monthly gathering:

      • Lessons on creativity, empathy, service, and human connection.

        • DDL Dreamers can volunteer their time to design the session and each

          Dreamer will be expected to be 100% present.

          Examples: Improvisational play writing, juggling, drumming, puppet show

          Lego Serious Play, design thinking quick start

      • Opportunities to work on community projects

        • Community partner(s) will join us during the monthly gatherings to recruit

          volunteers and to share ideas.

      • Time to connect with one another

        • Dreamers who participate in our monthly gatherings will have time to connect

          with one another through activities.

  2. Community Partnership- Creative Service

    • Allow community partners to tap into the creative minds of Design Dream Lab to create amazing solutions that improve the “heartbeat” of the community.

    • Unleash the creative power of our Dreamers by allowing them to work together to create meaningful solutions.

Past Projects: Reimagine: End of Life Festival, I Yourn To

Current Projects: Queens Public Library’s Connecting Family Stories - Memory Kaleidoscope, Families for Safe Streets, Mt. Sinai Hospital’s End of Life Initiative


Founders & Community Council

  1. Founders: Lee-Jung Kim and Dianne Kim

    • How did the Design Dream Lab come to life?
      It was during the summer of 2017 that Dianne Kim and Lee Kim realized that there was a community yearning to stay connected through a common purpose and drive to create meaningful connections. They realized this community of thinkers and creative minds wanted to make a positive social impact on their communities through design thinking. At the time, no such community existed to support these dreamers. So, Dianne and Lee set out to bring these dreamers together. They created a community collective called the Design Dream Lab. The first Design Dream Lab meeting was held on November 8, 2017 in partnership with Prime Produce.

  2. Design Dream Lab Community Council

    • The Community Council acts like an advisory board. Council members are the guardians of DDL and make sure that everything we do under DDL is grounded in its mission and serves the community.

    • Council Members:

      • Lee-Jung Kim

      • Dianne Kim

      • Natalie Milbrodt

      • Michael Glatts

      • Dan Toyama