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  • Writer's pictureTyler Valiquette

Our Work in Social Impact

Updated: Mar 14, 2023

tinyGIANT straddles the worlds of technology and social impact - this blog post, part of a series, explores our work in the social impact sector.

The majority of the work described below (organized thematically) took place either under Tyler’s product leadership at Catapult Design (he was a cofounder, Chief Operations Officer, and project lead for the pioneering social impact design firm) or during consulting engagements through tinyGIANT on other social impact-focused initiatives.

Clean Water

Panasonic’s UV Water Sterilizer - a 10 liter home appliance prototype that utilizes UV-C light to sterilize drinking water for human consumption. Intended for low-to-middle income Indian families that consume water from communal wells at risk for pathogenic contamination. tinyGIANT was responsible for user research, conceptual development, mechanical and electrical engineering, industrial design, prototyping, and in-country user testing.

Learn more about this water sterilizer on our project page here.

Renewable Energy

Zola Electric’s Solar Panel Mounting System – a universal, low-cost, stamped sheetmetal bracket system for mounting solar panels on both corrugated and thatch roofs. tinyGIANT was responsible for conceptual development, engineering / CAD, and design for manufacturing.

Learn more about this solar panel mounting system on our project page here.

Photo credit: Zola Electric

AIDG / EWB Vertical Axis Wind Turbine - a low-cost, vertical axis wind turbine for low-income, off-grid families in Guatemala. Developed initially by Engineers Without Borders - San Francisco Professionals Chapter and later by Catapult Design, for the Appropriate Infrastructure Development Group in Guatemala, with Tyler as the project lead. While not ultimately built or deployed in-country, this initiative, including testing at a win tunnel facility at the NASA Ames Research Facility, contributed meaningfully to the state of the art.

Download and read the whitepaper for the design using the link below.

Wind Turbine Close-out Report
Download PDF • 3.87MB

Improved Cookstoves

Potential Energy’s Berkeley Darfur Stove - an environmentally friendly sheetmetal stove manufactured in India and assembled for distribution in Uganda. Tyler is the Chairman of the Board for this improved cookstove non-profit focused on reducing the health and environmental impacts of cooking over open fires and unimproved stoves.

Learn more about the Berkeley Darfur Stove here.

Photo credit: Potential Energy

Food Security & Agriculture

ACDI / VOCA and Agribusiness Systems International’s (ASI) EasyDry M500 – a domestically manufactured grain drying system for use by entrepreneurs to provide grain drying services to local smallholder farmers in order to prevent toxic mold growth on maize. Tyler led the technical research and conceptual design of this system while at Catapult Design.

Learn more about the EasyDry M500 here.

Drexel University’s Handheld Rice Planter – a locally-manufactured rice planting tool that enables a single person to plant rice efficiently, reducing the number of people required to plant rice in half (from one to two people). Funded with an award from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (Labor Saving Innovations for Women Smallholder Farmers), tinyGIANT was responsible for user research, design mentorship, and in-country user testing.

Learn more about the rice planter here.


Ayzh’s Janma Clean Birth Kit – a low-cost, attractively packaged kit for midwives containing all the essential components necessary to deliver a baby in a clean and sanitary fashion. Tyler led the user research and conceptual development of a low-cost, biodegradable scalpel handle for inclusion in this kit while at Catapult Design.

Learn more about the Janma Clean Birth Kit here.


WaterSHED’s Toilet Shelter – a mass-manufactured structure that provides safety and security for Cambodian homes that have an outdoor pit toilet. tinyGIANT conducted in-country user research, identified and investigated local and regional manufacturers, and led the design for manufacturing effort.

Learn more about the toilet shelter here.

Photo credit: WaterSHED

Mobility & Transportation

Anza Technologies Handcart – a mass-manufactured, flat-packed handcart for transportation of drinking water and farm produce by families in Tanzania. Tyler was the project lead during the conceptual design, engineering, prototyping, and in-country testing of these handcarts while at Catapult Design.

Emergency Response

UNICEF’s Emergency Preparedness Platform - a web portal through which all 190 of UNICEF’s country offices currently prepare for disasters and plan their coordinated response. tinyGIANT conducted user research (interviews and workshops), conceptual design, and system prototyping for the platform, serving as the foundation for the complete redesign of the system.

Learn more about UNICEF’s Emergency Preparedness here.

Innovation & Entrepreneurship

The WorldBank’s Demand-Driven Green Innovation Program – An innovation program lead by the WorldBank in Indonesia that: identified promising green innovation concepts that could form the foundation for a local, self-sustaining enterprise; developed the concepts and selected the most promising; and, partnered with local entrepreneurs to bring them to market. Tyler was the project manager for this program while at Catapult Design.


Inveneo’s Classroom Computer Box – an educational multimedia enclosure locally fabricated, assembled, and used in classrooms in sub-Saharan Africa. Tyler led the user research, conceptual development, design, prototyping, and design for manufacturing of this multimedia enclosure while at Catapult Design.

Photo credit: Inveneo


The Earthday Film Festival - "a living, growing event and is itself a creative expression and offering to the planet. Our festival creates an immersive experience to honor the multifaceted nature of our journey on Earth." Athena has been a film curator for the festival since its inception in 2014.

Learn more about The Earthday Film Festival here.


PeaceCorps’ Energy and Climate Partnership of the America’s Workshop on Financing Renewable Energy Projects – a custom-designed workshop introducing leaders from around Latin America to best practices and design methods for implementing market-based approaches to renewable energy projects. Tyler led the development and facilitation of the workshop in Costa Rica while at Catapult Design.

Learn more about the workshop on Catapult Design’s blog, here.

Design Workshops – design workshops that instruct participants in the design process and skills including: user research, needfinding, cross-cultural communication, brainstorming, and prototyping. Developed and facilitated through both Catapult Design and tinyGIANT.

Learn more about tinyGIANT's design workshops on our project page here.

Public Speaking & Guest Lecturing

Design for Social Impact & Design Process and Methods - Tyler has presented, spoken, and lectured at the following institutions/events:


Unreasonable Institute (2009 – 2012) – design mentorship for high-potential social entrepreneurs at the Unreasonable Institute in Bolder, CO. Conducted through both Catapult Design and tinyGIANT.

Learn more about the Unreasonable Institute here.

Stanford University’s Design For Extreme Affordability Program (2010 – 2014) - design mentorship for student teams in this graduate-level multi-disciplinary design course. Conducted through Catapult Design.

Learn more about the Design for Extreme Affordability program here.

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