Supporting the City of Philadelphia’s FastFWD Civic Innovation Program

As the MID program transitions to our new name, Design for Social Impact, and continues to build on the strength of our previous social design work, we’re looking to engage more directly in the space of civic innovation in our home city of Philadelphia. To that end, we are pleased to announce a truly exciting project for our graduate students this semester in FastFWD, a program which gives social entrepreneurs the opportunity to collaborate with cities to source, cultivate, and deploy solutions to pressing problems facing cities across the country. FastFWD was created through the City of Philadelphia’s participation in the Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Mayors Challenge, which is a competition to inspire American cities to generate innovative ideas that solve major challenges and improve city life. The program was initiated by the City of Philadelphia Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics, GoodCompany Group, a social enterprise accelerator, and the Wharton Social Impact Initiative, and this team identified public safety as the first area of focus to be addressed. Based on the strength of our previous collaborations with the GoodCompany accelerator, it invited us into the project to share our design expertise with the participants as a complement to the FastFWD program’s core business curriculum.

MID / Design for Social Impact faculty and graduate students, as well as students from the Museum Exhibition Planning and Design MFA and undergraduate Industrial Design programs, are partnering with GoodCompany to create a robust curriculum for social entrepreneurs that integrates human-centered design process and methodology into the very fabric of the FastFWD accelerator program. Our team is facilitating a collaborative design process in order to lead entrepreneurs through an iterative development cycle to meet their highest potential for social innovation. We’ve built our design curriculum to support the FastFWD entrepreneurs with rigorous design research, integrative thinking, rapid prototyping, and a participatory, collaborative methodology to meet the demands of complex social, environmental, and business issues like those identified by these dynamic businesses.

Just one week into the program working with the FastFWD entrepreneurs, we’ve already been deeply impressed by the passion, commitment, and inventiveness that these companies exhibit. As we get to know each other better and discover their various capacities, we look forward to playing a supporting role in helping them to build strong businesses that will make demonstrable impact in the area of public safety in Philadelphia and cities elsewhere. We believe that emphasizing the needs and desires of the people at the heart of complex social issues allows us to work with a range of stakeholders to help develop pragmatic solutions that address real problems. At the same time, we are committed to making our design methods and tools accessible to these entrepreneurs so that they too can take advantage of the creative tools we bring to the process beyond the timeframe of the FastFWD program. Over the next 12 weeks, faculty and students will be posting many more reflections on our work in FastFWD, sharing what we learn along the way.

Supporting the City of Philadelphia’s FastFWD Civic Innovation Program
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This entry was posted on Tuesday, February 25th, 2014 at 1:43 am by azahn123.