Curated Story
Next Step Network
Source: Next Step Network

How Co-Creation Strategies Lead To Success: An Example In Affordable Housing

This article originally appeared on Forbes

In 2011, Kentucky-based social entrepreneur Stacey Epperson set out to address the shortage of safe, affordable housing, a problem she knew well from her upbringing in rural Appalachia.
I looked at a problem and tried to find a solution, Epperson says of her decision to start Next Step Network, a catalyst organization that now works nationally. 

In the years since, Epperson has been doing exactly this, an effort that has required collaboration with lenders, other citizen (non-profit) organizations, and companies. To this end, Epperson joined a partnership offering of IKEA Social Entrepreneurship last year called Dela.

Structured as a several-month accelerator, the effort matches social entrepreneurs across industries and geographies—24 entrepreneurs so far—with Ashoka systems change experts, thought partners from other organizations and companies and over 200 staff innovators within IKEA. The experience, including the matching, is curated to spark expertise exchange and mutual learning that flows both ways—from citizen sector innovator to business, and vice versa.

The result is a cross-sector team focused on addressing systems-level issues that impact society.