Hannah Calhoon is the founding director of Blue Ridge Labs@Robin Hood, an incubator inside Robin Hood, that asks how technology can enable new models for fighting poverty and expanding opportunity.  The Labs currently runs two programs: A Fellowship that connects technologists and communities to identify and launch new solutions to critical social challenges, and an incubation program, Catalyst, for startups working within one of Robin Hood’s funding areas.

This interview is part of the Aspen Institute Center for Urban Innovation’s series of conversations with inclusive innovation practitioners.

Jennifer Bradley:  What is the relationship between tools and values?

Hannah Calhoon:  Selection of tools should follow from values, and the important question is always, “If we choose this tool or this process, or a data set, or venue, or literally anything, is it actually a values decision?”  We may think it’s an operational process decision, but in actuality, it is a values decision.

Which tools do you use?

HC:  We try to borrow from a lot of best practices and methodologies that other people have developed. We talk a lot about community-centered design as a version of the human-centered design process, and there are a lot of frameworks, and tool kits and worksheets around what early stage qualitative exploratory research looks like.  We borrow pretty heavily from the lean start up movement, which has its own set of frameworks and metrics and canon.

Read the rest of the interview about tools for social change from Citi Foundation at The Aspen Institute.