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Yesterday, September 25, GVSU Alumnus Mike Rios (2005, Advertising and Public Relations) visited campus to talk about design thinking. Rios has worked for advertising agencies like Grey USA, with clients including Nike, Coca-Cola, and Porsche. However, he became tired of selling products he didn’t believe in, like cigarettes and beer, which led to him co-founding 17 Triggers four years ago.

Rios described 17 Triggers as a company that wants to help make a difference using design thinking.

“Design thinking is making things ridiculously easy and delightful,” said Rios. “Lack of design thinking for good causes is the challenge of our generation.”

17 Triggers helps social organizations think like tech start-ups. It has assisted areas around the world including rural India and Cambodia with projects including installing latrines and providing health information robo-calls to mothers after they give birth.

Rios gave praise to Grand Valley for helping him get to where he is today.

“Student organizations like Student Senate kept me interested in school,” said Rios. “However, Professor Anton once said how ridiculous it is that parents pay so much money for us to go to school, yet most of us feel ‘too cool’ to learn. This really impacted me.”

Before ending the presentation, Rios gave some final words of inspiration to students on dealing with opposition.

“Smile and ignore them. Keep a thick skin and believe in what you’re doing,” said Rios.

More information about 17 Triggers is available at http://www.17triggers.com/.

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