Only 13 days late, I am kicking off my New Year's resolution to write at least weekly updates about our current collaborations, with this article written in Forbes about the FastFWD program.

FastFWD is an urban innovation accelerator debuting in Philadelphia early February 2014. The Forbes article fell short in mentioning our participation...but here is a brief overview of what we will be doing this spring:

In partnership with the City of Philadelphia's New Office of Urban Mechanics, Wharton's Social Impact Initiative, and GoodCompany Group, the University of the Arts' new Design for Social Impact graduate program will be running a design curriculum as part of the 12-week accelerator. The faculty and students will be employing design thinking strategies to help the social entrepreneurs bring their innovations to market and maximize their impact. Specifically, the designers will support the entrepreneurs through:

  • Ethnographic research to understand behaviors of stakeholders, end-users, consumers, and the larger context of their experiences
  • Integrative, systems-level thinking to identify actionable insights from the research
  • Technical design and prototyping actions to translate insights into action to evaluate their impact

I am excited to be collaborating as the Project Manager for the design partnership. I will be working alongside UArts' faculty and students to develop the design curriculum and to facilitate the design support. I believe design offers unique and powerful strategies for addressing wicked problems, like the public safety ones the entrepreneurs are facing in FastFWD, and I look forward to supporting their work.

I will be writing about the progress of our collaboration on this blog, so check back soon!

 Photo credit: Jeremy Beaudry

Photo credit: Jeremy Beaudry