Caroline Hill is a catalyst for equity and founder of the DC Equity Lab and co-founder of the Equity Design Collaborative—two emerging nodes in the education equity ecosystem.  The DC Equity Lab invests in early-stage education ventures in Washington, D.C. and enables them to design solutions that create and scale equity in schools, organizations, and communities.

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

Jennifer Bradley:  What does co-creation mean to you?

Caroline Hill:  When I think about co-creation, I think about what it is like to design with people rather than for them, from the inception of understanding the problem to the process that you use to solve it.

JB:  How do you apply co-creation to your organization or your work?

CH:  I think there’s a couple of tangible examples from our work with the truancy taskforce in DC.  One of the first prerequisites for co-creation is having the people who experience the problem in the room.  We coordinated with school leaders to have students in the room.

JB:  What would you tell an organization or an individual who wants to co-create with the people that they are trying to serve?

CH:  First start with yourself.  That means understanding the role that your identity plays in the privilege and the power that you hold.  That means understanding the problem that you’re trying to solve and asking yourself in what ways are you best equipped to solve this problem, and understanding that expertise might not exist with you, and making room for other people at the table.

Read the full interview about redesigning systems of inequality at The Aspen Institute.