In this first part of her conversation with Leslie Chan, Melanie recounts her journey from her graduation from the IDS program at UTSC, to her current role as co-founder of a new social technology start-up called Commons 11. Melanie talks about her with with Crisis Commons and with Random Hacks of kindness, and explains what "hacking" has to do with finding appropriate technologies for solving local development problems. She talks about how her education and experience in international development studies inform her approaches with working with technologists and with community groups, and how her training enables her to act as a bridge between these communities. She shares important lessons on participatory design and the need to involve local users in order to develop truly appropriate technologies that have positive social and environmental impact.
This interview was recorded on Oct. 24th, 2012 at UTSC.