Mijounga Chang MA Design Systems Thesis 2020
Risky Business: Designing for a Culture of Collaboration and Innovation in Philanthropy
Funders in the U.S. philanthropic sector have tremendous financial wealth, resources and power to support social change. They are also mostly risk averse and their preferred method is to work solo and stick to the standard. But how might funders interrogate and reimagine risk for greater impact as a field? How might we transform the mindset, culture, practices and systems for collaboration and innovation in philanthropy so funders are more adaptive to better meet both emergent challenges and root problems? Through literature review, user interviews with funders, analogous research for inspiration from the field of design, government and technology, and evaluative research for testing, my research examines the role of collaboration, risk and innovation (and their intrinsic connection) for funders and the philanthropic sector working for social justice in the U.S. I propose a human-centered, participatory-based design thinking approach to enable collaborative innovation for solutions and impact for the long haul.