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KaBoom playground
Curated Story
This article originally appeared on Next Billion

When Darrel Hammond, founder of KaBoom! set out to make sure that every child has a great place to play, his plan for building playgrounds had a special twist. 

Like other successful social entrepreneurs, Hammond’s approach challenges the dominant leadership paradigm in society – one in which a few lead and everyone else follows. They break from an authoritative, hierarchical approach to leadership and instead pave the way for everyone to participate as changemakers. They create new roles for people, purposes for institutions and relationships between actors.


Ashoka Insight

To successfully lead in a complex environment, the core role of a leader shifts to nurturing an environment for changemakers to emerge. Part of nurturing others to lead requires overcoming personal and organizational egos to listen, trust and share leadership. It requires self-awareness and openness not only for change externally but for change internally. We have seen Ashoka Fellows struggle in this journey, but when they succeed they gain an authenticity that ultimately rallies people around the idea.

Each one of us has the innate potential to unleash this new paradigm of leadership in our schools, universities, work spaces and communities. We too can root our leadership in building a culture of changemaking.


Diana joined the organization after graduating from Brown University in 1988 with a degree in South Asian Studies. As an undergraduate, her year-long study abroad in Varanasi, India led her to see the need for local solutions to solve global problems. This insight inspired her to pursue an internship at Ashoka, where she created one of its core programs, Fellowship Support Services, (now Fellowship) which expanded the resources available to Ashoka’s social entrepreneurs to connect them to one another. She became the President of Ashoka in 2005. She has contributed significantly to the field of social entrepreneurship by implementing one of the first, and now widely respected, tools to measure the impact of social entrepreneurship.
Supriya joined Ashoka India in 2010 as the Venture Manager. She coordinates the search and selection process of social entrepreneurs in India and with them, she is helping to build collaborative entrepreneurship platforms in different areas, such as rural innovation, health, education.

Having graduated in 2005 from NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad India, Supriya joined a premier Indian corporate law firm, Amarchand Mangaldas, and specialized in securities laws and capital market transactions. Prior to joining Ashoka, she worked with the African Wildlife Foundation in Tanzania, where she was also teaching the Massai tribes.

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