If you spend a few hours at BIF’s annual summit, you realize that innovation is an equal opportunity, well, opportunity. Its remarkable bounty does not discriminate between genders, nationalities, race, or age.
It does, however, require passion, persistence; and as storyteller and food critic, Simon Majumdar calls it, dumb luck.
Like Darell Hammond. He wasn’t born with a special chromosome for innovation, but he acquired it from the kind of childhood that usually depresses it. When he was four, his mother brought him and his seven siblings to Mooseheart Child City and School just outside of Chicago because she could not raise them alone.
She lived near her children while they stayed in age-specific houses. A few times a year, the family spent a night together in a cabin near the shore of a 300-acre lake near the campus.
“I was incredibly lucky to have a place to play and be a kid when I grew up,” says Hammond. “It’s something every child deserves, and I want to make sure that they have it.”
In 1995, Hammond co-founded KaBOOM!, a non-profit that helps communities that build playgrounds and playspaces in their neighborhoods. Since that time, the organization has transformed over 2117 playspaces with the helps of more than million volunteers.
He told the BIF audience that KaBOOM! receives over 40,000 requests a year and can only build a little over 200.
“The playground is where kids learn to share, negotiate, take risks and form relationships. That’s not a luxury, that’s a necessity.”
Hammond’s innovation isn’t about computer chips or the invention of new product; it’s taking a void and filling it with hope and action. He turned his mixed memories of youth into an opportunity to serve others.
That’s not just one life as little less ordinary, that’s millions of lives made extraordinary.
For more information, click www.kaboom.org