497-311: Social Innovation for Community Wealth Building

Meeting Days/Time
Thursdays from 6:25 to 9:05 pm
Maryam Heidaripour (ID) (maryam@id.iit.edu) and Daniel Chichester (ID) (chichester_9@hotmail.com)
Appropriate Disciplines
Social Innovation

Neighborhoods need to continually rethink their approach to economic development and community development, taking into account many factors that influence the interaction between and among government, businesses, community organizations, and residents.

Working in small teams, this IPRO section uses a structured approach to social innovation to explore the following lines of inquiry:

  1. What is community wealth?
  2. How is community wealth built in Chicago communities? Who is involved and who is excluded?
  3. What community assets can be leveraged to create more stable, equitable and resilient local economies?
  4. How can we think differently about community assets to create new social and economic value for Chicago residents and stakeholders?

The teams will conduct secondary and primary research (intercept and expert interviews, participant observation), engaging with Chicago residents and stakeholders throughout the semester. The teams will learn how to apply a variety of design methods to their data to analyze (asset mapping, stakeholder mapping, opportunity maps, value webs, user journey maps) and synthesize (rapid prototyping) findings to create a social innovation that builds community wealth. Solutions must be desirable for users, technologically feasible and economically viable.

Students who join this IPRO section should be prepared for an immersive learning experience, as they will engage in iterative fieldwork in a variety of off-campus contexts. There will be two juried critiques of the teams’ midterm review (problem framing with data) and final presentation (proposed solution including prototype). During the semester, the teams will:

  1. Apply design thinking skills and methods to better understand and address complex socio-economic problems;
  2. Develop a nuanced theoretical understanding of social innovation;
  3. Develop a basic understanding of community-based participatory research principles; and
  4. Strengthen qualitative research skills.
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