Big Wins
  • Knight Foundation equipped 255 Prototype Fund grantees with powerful innovation toolset
  • Prototype Fund projects have won more support and launched as stand-alone offerings
  • Media organizations are building “muscles of innovation” through Human-Centered Design
LUMAtic Big Win Icon
  • Icon showing measurement tools on a graph, to represent projects.

    250+

    Projects Funded With Initial Grants

  • Grant award icon showing a trophy with a dollar sign

    $35k-$50k

    Award Amount Per Project

  • Simple icon of a money bag with a $ sign on it.

    $9+ million

    Prototype Fund Grants Awarded Overall

It’s one thing to say ‘You need to use Human-Centered Design as part of your process,’ and another thing to offer some resources to help people get started. … We don’t want people to just do a heads-down dive into their project, then come back up after six months with a tool or technology. We want people to verify, with their audience along the way, that they are making the right thing, and to learn from the people that they are trying to serve.

Chris Barr

Knight Foundation Director of Technology Innovation and LUMA Certified Instructor

Scope of Engagement
  • Fundamentals Workshop icon

    Fundamentals Workshop

  • Resources icon

    Resources

  • Instructor Certification icon

    Instructor Certification

There is simply StoryCorps before Human-Centered Design and the StoryCorps after. The culture and the way we approach our work are remarkably different and much more evolved. I see it as a windfall for both myself and the organization to have been introduced to HCD, and it was one of the most valuable, but least anticipated, results of the Knight Prototype award.

Dean Haddock

Managing Director, Digital & Technical Innovation, StoryCorps

StoryCorps

Prototype Fund grant awarded in July 2014 to help StoryCorps, an award-winning oral history project, to develop a mobile app for anyone to record, upload and share do-it-yourself interviews. Since its launch in March 2015, nearly 250,000 people have done a StoryCorps interview using the app, greatly expanding the project’s ability to allow anyone anywhere to participate by using a mobile device.  In 2015, the Story Corps app project won an additional $600,000 in funding from the Knight Foundation, and a $1 million award from TED.

Photo Photo of a person's hand holding a cell phone with the StoryCorps mobile app on the screen.
Photo of a person's hand holding a cell phone with the StoryCorps mobile app on the screen.
Hollaback!

Prototype Fund grant awarded in March 2013 for Hollaback! to improve and expand a mobile app that lets people to submit real-time reports of street harassment directly to local government. Hollaback! relaunched the app in fall 2013 in New York City and since then has won the Ted City2.0 Prize and been named a CNN Top Personal Safety App.  Hollaback! is in use in 19 languages, 56 cities and 31 countries, and its reach is continuing to expand. The Hollaback! team won an additional $516,000 from the Knight Foundation in late 2016 for HeartMob, a digital platform to combat online harassment.

Photo Photo showing a row of young women holding cell phones displaying the hollaback! mobile app.
Photo showing a row of young women holding cell phones displaying the hollaback! mobile app.
Curious City

Prototype Fund grant awarded in June 2013 to create an experimental, public-powered model that enables the public to suggest, vote on and participate in news stories as they are reported. The Curious City experiment is thriving at WBEZ, a public radio station in Chicago. Out of that success, the Curious City founder has launched a startup, Hearken, that offers consulting and a custom software platform that news organizations interested in the public-powered reporting model can use in a variety of ways in their own markets. Hearken is being used in 18 languages and by more than 80 newsrooms around the world, and is starting to spread to cultural institutions and schools.

Photo Black and white aerial photo of Chicago with the Curious City logo in the lower right corner; below that is the full-color logo for Hearken
Black and white aerial photo of Chicago with the Curious City logo in the lower right corner; below that is the full-color logo for Hearken

For us, it’s just as important to see the institutions we care about develop the muscles of innovation as it is to have funded a successful project. If organizations can build those muscles, we’re more likely to have additional, successful projects down the road.

Chris Barr

Knight Foundation Director of Technology Innovation and LUMA Certified Instructor

Photo Pie chart from a survey asking Prototype Fund grantees: How helpful was the Human-Centered Design workshop? 74% - Very Helpful; 23% - Somewhat Helpful; 3% - A Little Helpful
Pie chart from a survey asking Prototype Fund grantees: How helpful was the Human-Centered Design workshop? 74% - Very Helpful; 23% - Somewhat Helpful; 3% - A Little Helpful

Outcomes

Luma Outcomes

250+ grant teams equipped with Human-Centered Design via LUMA

Knight Foundation investment supported by giving grantees design tools to succeed

Grant recipients won additional funding, launched new products and services

Wider use of Human-Centered Design as an innovation driver in media organizations nationwide

The LUMA System isn’t prescriptive — it doesn’t ask people to take on new processes. It’s about tools and methods that people can drop in along the way, and enhance your existing processes. I think that’s really powerful.

Chris Barr

Knight Foundation Director of Technology Innovation and LUMA Certified Instructor

Start Your Story