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The Spectrum Project: A Theory of Change and Initial Critiques

Sunday, January 12th, 2014 | Posted by Chelsea Hostetter

Hello everyone! It’s Alex and I here, updating you on the latest happenings with The Spectrum Project.

When we last left off, we had just finished presenting some top insights from our research and three design ideas culled from the 300 design ideas that were inspired by our interviews and inquiries into the trans* and gender variant community.

Alex and I have been thinking a lot about our ideas during the break—we went back over our three final ideas and old ideas and talked extensively what our final idea would be, based on our insights.

We finally decided on an idea, which was different from all three of our ideas, but has threads of each interwoven in. That is Theory of Change: A curated experience for trans* folks to try out different styles and inspirations.

View the full storyboard here.

The idea is that while Amazon has the ability to do discreet delivery of new clothes and shoes to your door, there’s really not an experience of mentorship or positive input/feedback in their lives. Transitioning is hard, and staying positive while you’re trying new experiences in gender, whether it be clothing, “tells” (verbal or non-verbal signs that “tell” a person you are male or female), or makeup. Sometimes, the feedback you receive comes from people who are not trusted or do not have your best interests at heart.

One of our participants said that since her style was “tomboyish,” and her other cisgendered women friends were not, she wasn’t sure how to proceed to explore her own style, since she didn’t know anyone who had similar style interests as her.

Some initial critiques that we received on this idea were that we should focus on how to make the Theory of Change community stronger. The idea behind the curated box of products is interesting, but what is the most impactful is the fact that we would have a community of people actively providing feedback and support.

Another great idea that was thrown our way was perhaps to offer a way for folks who are using this service to build their own wish list, and for friends and family to buy them clothes and items as a way of supporting them through their transition. Oftentimes, friends and family want to be supportive, but don’t have a good conception of how to support their trans* family or friend. This might be a good way to direct them into positive action instead of ignoring the transition, or worse, falling into negative feelings about the transition.

Alex and I are working to complete the detail work this week, and are actively looking for folks in the trans* and gender variant community to give us feedback. Are we off-base? Is this something that could help others or help you?

Contact us at spectrumproject@ac4d.com if you’d like to participate! Our work couldn’t continue without your continued help and support!

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