Military Spouses Project Team Update

The process. Trust the process.

Our project team has been working for months now to understand the lives of military families, spouses in particular. We are starting to gain some confidence around the path along which all of our research has led us. It feels like the process is paying off.

Our guiding light, the insight that has been driving our ideation this quarter, is that transient military families struggle to build deep relationships vital to security and reliability. After several weeks of asking ourselves how we might solve various problems in different ways, writing scenarios, sketching vignettes and diagrams, all of our ideation has started to gel around a relatively concrete solution: a friend-dating app for military spouses.

Once coming to this potential solution, we needed to get some feedback. Yesterday, we did a follow-up interview with a past participant. It was only one opinion (much more testing to come), but it was extremely satisfying when her reactions to the wireframes validated several of our assumptions. For example, we knew that military spouses were consciously aware of the need to make new friends quickly, but we were making a leap in thinking that they would be comfortable with the system making a lot of the scheduling decisions around meeting up. Our participant not only said that it would be nice because it removes a lot of the awkward back and forth of “Where would you like to go? Oh, I don’t care. Well, how about this place?” and so on. She also said that it fits right in with the directness and efficiency of military culture.

In addition to validating some of our assumptions, our participant was able to give us some direction on some issues we were struggling to figure out how to handle. For example, one of our goals is to avoid the judgment and alienation which can be so pervasive among the social circles of military spouses. We knew that the military’s rank structure had a big impact on this. After our interview, we were able to turn a big question into an assumption, and an assumption can be tested.

So, to sum up where we’re at, there is a problem we’ve identified, one among many overlapping problems. And then there’s this web of reasons why this problem exists. And what we’ve done so far has been enough so that we can say, yes, this is an appropriate course of action (at least, to continue testing this idea rather than to abandon it). Now, we’re asking ourselves how we can test the really important hypothesis, that a friend-dating app can actually have the impact of leading to more relationships among military spouses that give them a sense of security and reliability.