On Monday, February 17th, we held our Spring 2020 Social Innovation Conversation: “Decolonizing Social Innovation Research: Learning From PlayBuild NOLA.” Angela Kyle, the Co-founder and Executive Director of PlayBuild NOLA, and Dr. Maille Faughnan, Taylor Center Research Fellow, shared their perspectives on how our community partner organizations create valuable knowledge for social innovation practice.
The two scholars/practitioners have worked together since 2013, when they met over the first design thinking class in Tulane’s Social Innovation and Social Entrepeneurship minor (SISE). They then partnered up officially for the Fast 48, a weekend-long Design Thinking bootcamp hosted by the Taylor Center since 2014.
Their scholarly conversation focused on how Playbuild, as a community partner organization, creates valuable knowledge that translates into practice. The current collaborations between PlayBuild, the City of New Orleans, and Tulane promote grassroots action around child-friendly environments in New Orleans. Angela Kyle, with a successful career background in business and corporate development, applied her knowledge and skills to the process of building community spaces for kids for out-of-school time programs and family events.
Dr. Faughnan shared how she sees research, specifically the importance of Action Research, which focuses on discovery, action, and reflection. She highlighted some of the main characteristics, such as collaboration, capacity-building, and community participation.
What’s next? The team of faculty researchers (Dr. Laura Murphy, Dr. Lesley-Ann Noel and Faughnan) just received the Tulane Center for Public Service’s Community Engaged Research Program Grant. They will use this funding to partner with PlayBuild NOLA to research how human-centered design and other social innovation “tools” can support the development and effectiveness of a grassroots neighborhood organization.