Katie Krummeck, the Aga Khan Foundation (AKF)’s Global Design and Innovation Advisor, presented last week at the International Social Innovation Research Conference at St. Mary’s University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. ISRIC is the world’s leading interdisciplinary social innovation research conference. This was ISRIC’s 14th annual conference and the first time it was held in North America. Presenters and participants represented more than 70 countries. The theme for the conference was Leading Change Through Capacity Building for Social Innovation. Both academics and practitioners were welcomed into a robust conversation about different approaches to social innovation.
The conference had 20 streams with topics that ranged from Governing Social and Environmental Issues to Drive Change to Social Innovation as Educational Framework, which was hosted by the Ashoka team based in Canada.
Katie presented along with her collaborator on the Schools2030 project, Gray Garmon (pictured above) Director of the Center for Integrated Design and Professor of Practice at University of Texas at Austin. Katie and Gray co-developed the presentation on Schools2030 project and Gray presented it in the Design Thinking Useful Tools and Diverse Critiques. This stream was chaired by Jay Friedlander, Professor of Sustainable Business at the College of the Atlantic in Maine, Laura Murphy, Professor of Social Entrepreneurship at Tulane University in New Orleans and Lesley-Ann Noel, Professor of Design at North Carolina State University in Raleigh.
The presentation Gray gave about Schools2030 was titled Putting Educators at the Center of Innovation and Students at the Center of the Innovation Process. This presentation was focused on how the Schools2030 program is offering a radical new approach to decolonizing traditional power structures and giving educators the platform, they deserve to make the changes they are best suited to make. This new model not only takes on the undue influences that the Global North has had in shaping the Global South, but also empowers educators who are often marginalized within their own countries’ power structure. Schools2030 then aims to elevate the voices of educators to influence the global education conversation. Through the Schools2030 process of showcasing teacher-created low-cost and scalable innovations, educators are invited to the global policy discussions and are positioned to inform and transform education systems to improve holistic learning outcomes for the most marginalized learners worldwide.
The presentation was focused on not only co-creation and de-centring the power of outsiders in making community-based decisions, but also on how to operationalize this approach through tools and trainings.
The Schools2030 HCD process asks educators to engage with their students and their students’ families in order to understand and redefine the problems and iterate on proposed solutions. Once educators have iterated on their ideas based on student feedback, these micro-innovations are funded by philanthropic dollars. Schools2030 then aims to elevate the voices of educators to influence the global education conversation. Through the Schools2030 process of showcasing these low-cost and scalable innovations, educators are invited to the global policy discussions and are positioned to inform and transform education systems to improve holistic learning outcomes for the most marginalized learners worldwide.
During the Q & A, there was a lively discussion about the implications of power structures, both politically and socioeconomically, and how human-centered design can either work to further entrench those dynamics or disrupt them.
Katie and Gray were honored to represent AKF, the Aga Khan Development Network, USAID and all of their colleagues who were not able to attend but whose work was represented, including:
- Nafisa Shekhova, Global Lead, Education and Early Childhood Development, Aga Khan Foundation
- Dr. Andrew Cunningham, Global Lead, Education, Aga Khan Foundation
- Dr. Bronwen Magrath, Global Programme Manager, Schools2030, Aga Khan Foundation
- Munir Ahmad, Global Lead for Innovation, Aga Khan Foundation
The contents of this piece are the responsibility of the author (Katie Krummeck) and do not necessarily reflect the views of AKF, USAID, or the United States Government.