HFLI Expands Design Innovation Program for Social Entrepreneurs and Nonprofits

Press Release – DEARBORN, Mich., Nov. 27, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Henry Ford Learning Institute (HFLI), a nonprofit committed to redesigning how we learn and lead, is putting the emphasis on ideas with the development and expansion of its design innovation program. Social Innovation Studio features a multi-stage process to help social entrepreneur teams and nonprofits make promising ideas even more compelling to beneficiaries of the idea and investors alike.

Last fall, HFLI launched Social Innovation Studio with Ford’s corporate foundation, Ford Motor Company Fund to capitalize on growing millennial interest in and demand for participation in social entrepreneurship projects. Following a successful pilot, Social Innovation Studio is expanding to include emerging projects and NGO partners from Ford’s global communities. HFLI’s design innovation program can also be sponsored by other accelerators and foundations to support their participants and grantees.

“HFLI’s model for designing responses to complex community challenges will enable Ford Fund to invest in, and partner with, our nonprofit grantees in a way that creates transformational, long-lasting change in, with, and for communities” said Todd Nissen, director, Ford Motor Company Fund.

“Social Innovation Studio reflects HFLI’s deep experience in education and strategic use of design thinking, a collection of mindsets and methods to creatively explore problems, then reframe and act on them,” said Deborah Parizek, executive director, Henry Ford Learning Institute. “Our focus on an idea preparation and refinement experience for adult learners is a clear differentiator from most early stage coaching and mentoring available to social impact projects.”

To be considered for Social Innovation Studio, projects must have the potential to be both “transformational” and “actionable” using specific criteria. Once a project team is identified, HFLI coaches members through a structured but flexible learning process to confirm a clear need in the community, and potentially reframe an initial idea to better align with that need. With continued HFLI support, the teams then define an overall program and business model and develop an effective plan for implementation.

During the Ford pilot, HFLI has helped more than 100 people on 14 projects refine and nurture ideas that strengthen communities. Early ideas for current projects have emerged from the Bill Ford Better World Challenge, the Ford Blue Oval Community Impact Fellowship, Ford’s Thirty Under 30 program, and Henry Ford Entrepreneurship Academy. Planning for a physical location to serve as a home base for Social Innovation Studio participants and serial social innovators is also underway.

“HFLI and Social Innovation Studio provided the structure and coaching we needed to identify gaps that we might not have otherwise thought of, refine our idea, and develop a path to take our project to impact,” said L’Nard Tufts, a Ford employee and Fellow in the 2017 cohort of Ford’s Thirty Under 30 development program for the company’s young professionals. Tufts is nearing the completion of the multi-stage Social Innovation Studio experience and activating his project for the homeless.

About Henry Ford Learning Institute

Henry Ford Learning Institute (HFLI) is a non-profit organization that is redesigning how we learn and lead. Founded in 2003 by The Henry Ford and Ford Motor Company Fund, HFLI provides workshops, programs and site coaching that pair effective education and human-centered design approaches, empowering learners to lead transformational change in, with and for their community. HFLI has directly served more than 10,000 adults and youth in K-20 education, workplace initiatives and out-of-school programs over the past three years. For more information, visit www.hfli.org, or join us on Facebook @Henry.Ford.Learning.Institute and Twitter @hfli.

About Ford Motor Company

Ford Motor Company is a global company based in Dearborn, Michigan. The company designs, manufactures, markets and services a full line of Ford cars, trucks, SUVs, electrified vehicles and Lincoln luxury vehicles, provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company and is pursuing leadership positions in electrification, autonomous vehicles and mobility solutions. Ford employs approximately 202,000 people worldwide. For more information regarding Ford, its products and Ford Motor Credit Company, please visit www.corporate.ford.com.

About Ford Motor Company Fund

Ford Motor Company Fund is the philanthropic arm of Ford Motor Company. Established in 1949, Ford Fund invests in transformational programs that advance innovation, empower people, promote social mobility and improve community prosperity. Ford Fund works with local and global partners to create opportunities in education, encourage safe driving, enlist employee volunteers and enrich community life. For more information, visit http://community.ford.com, or join us on Facebook @FordFund and Twitter @FordFund.

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