Our Blog

Civil Justice For All

May 24, 2016    

In the 1963 landmark case, Gideon v. Wainwright, 372 U.S. 335, the Supreme Court ruled that anyone accused of a crime deserves the right to counsel – yet still no such right exists for civil cases. A civil case is any legal matter outside the realm of military, political or criminal law and encompasses everything from small claims, child custody, immigration, debt collection, and landlord/tenant issues – to name a few. READ POST

Alumni Profile: Dylan Butman

November 16, 2015    

Dylan Butman is native of New York and earned his Bachelor of Arts in Computational Aesthetics from New York University. He works as a programmer, designer, and fabricator, building web-based applications, experimental user interfaces, interactive data visualizations, and creative coding installations. He’s the engineer for Populace, a tool designed to bring people closer to community programs. READ POST

5 Insights From Our 2016 Summer Fellowship

November 9, 2015    

In a previous post we shared the five exciting applications that resulted from our 2015 summer fellowship. But while it’s always tempting to only look at the end results, we’d also like to share some of the interesting insights our teams learned along the way. To get kids to out-of-school programs, make sure their parents have friends there too Grapevine spoke with many parents and providers of out-of-school programs to get a holistic sense of people’s patterns of behavior when it comes to finding activities for their kids. Interestingly, they learned that many parents would prefer to take their children to programming if there is some sort of social component for the parents. Most of us can relate. Going to… READ POST

Announcing the Catalyst Finalists!

October 7, 2015    

Announcing the 2015 Catalyst finalists! Three weeks after announcing Catalyst, our brand new incubation program for early stage technology ventures at Blue Ridge Labs, we received over 40 outstanding applications! From our judges’ deliberations, 7 finalist teams emerged. Three of which will be selected by our all-star panel of finals judges to join us for six months of support, workshops, and a $40k cash stipend. READ POST

2015 Fellowship Products

September 21, 2015    

We’re excited to announce the 5 new projects that our fellowship teams built this summer. You can check out all of the products here! Duckling Nova Populace JustFix.nyc Grapevine READ POST

Alumni Profile: Gaïa Orain

August 13, 2015    

Gaïa Orain is a design strategist at Fair Care Labs, the social innovation arm of the National Domestic Workers Alliance. Core to her design practice is a focus on the intersection of design thinking and social justice. Prior to joining Fair Care Labs, Gaïa freelanced with both corporate and non-profit clients. At Blue Ridge Labs, she worked on Neat Streak, a tool that creates agreements between house cleaners and their employers. She is currently working on an app that aims to aid domestic workers with employee contracts. READ POST

Why We’re Launching Catalyst

August 7, 2015     / / / / /

When we designed our fellowship back in the spring of 2014, we knew that it would only be the first step in a much longer journey for the teams who wanted to turn their ideas into sustainable, scalable ventures. Over the last few months, we’ve asked ourselves what we could do to better support promising teams – whether fellowship alumni or otherwise – in the later stages of their development. And because of our belief that great products (including programs) start from an understanding of what users need, we went out and asked a lot of other people too. After a couple dozen conversations with entrepreneurs, accelerators, foundations, and investors, here are three things we learned: 1) While timelines, staffing… READ POST

Brainstorming Session with IDEO

July 23, 2015    

In June, IDEO and IDEO.org hosted the Blue Ridge Labs fellows for a brainstorm and ideation session. Below is a guest blog from Product Fellow Susie Kavanaugh on her experience during the session. After learning that Blue Ridge Labs would have a brainstorming session with IDEO, I pretty much had to pinch myself. Could this be true? I’ve followed their work and used their toolkits, so I was beyond excited for our session. In preparation for the meeting, each Blue Ridge Labs fellows team created three user profiles along with a “how might we…” statement. Shortly after arriving at IDEO’s office in NYC, we jumped into action. Teams were paired off, user profiles were shared, and “how might we” statements… READ POST

Keeping Core Values First

July 21, 2015    

Often an organization’s core values are things that sound nice in practice, but are really hard to trace through to implementation. At Blue Ridge Labs @ Robin Hood we strive to be different. Our values are at the fore of all our work and we remind ourselves, our fellows, and our network about what we stand for constantly. We seek to actively live out those things we think are fundamental to building new technology for those traditionally overlooked. It’s not always easy but it is important. Our values are: Courage – We jump into the unknown and the uncomfortable with transparency and honesty. For example, building technology that is based on the joys, frustrations, and articulated needs of people is… READ POST

The Work Continues at Blue Ridge Labs

July 20, 2015    

We are incredibly excited to announce the re-launch of our blog! A lot has happened in the past year, from joining Robin Hood to re-launching our second summer fellowship. The fellowship is currently one month underway and we’re going to spotlight some of our past and current fellows, share some insights from the field, and keep you posted on the progress of the products. This year our fellows were selected from a pool of more than 200 applicants to trailblaze social innovation using technology and design. Throughout the summer, they are designing and building products collaboratively with underserved communities, focusing on possible tech interventions for individuals working in the informal economy, caregivers trying to maintain their children’s educational momentum through… READ POST