Low Fidelity Prototyping : Week 2 In Review

This week the team of Sara Miller and Kelsey Greathouse pushed forward our three design concepts. It was a week filled with revelations in all three concepts.

We developed pitch decks for each idea. The exercise helped us articulate the problems each of these concepts seeks to solve by challenging us to be clear and cogent of why the problem exists and why an outside audience should care.

We then worked to put our ideas (in the form of our pitch decks) in front of 5 interviewees from a variety of backgrounds as we continued to do research in to the competitive landscape of each of these concepts. We learned learned a ton in each interview, in our research, and in some of

Concept 1: Casa 

“a co-living environment for students pursuing alternative education”

Problem: Bootcamps and other forms of alternative education lack the community and enriching experiences that are necessary for student’s success during and after the program.

Hypothesis: There are difficulties known and unknown at conception in running a co-living environment, we seek to understand what those are.

Testing Method/Prototyping: We developed a pitch deck to better define and illustrate our ideas during our interviews. We sought to connect with people who have managed or created co-living environments.

This week, we spoke with the Associate Director of Living and Learning Communities at the University of Michigan. She manages both the academic living and learning communities (based around disciplines) and theme housing (based around common interest). The academic based housing provides additional ways for collective reflection and alternative formats of interaction with each other and the subject matter. For example, they do implement Dinner and Dialogue sessions, where a faculty member comes into the residential dining space and the students are able to interact with each other and faculty over a meal.


Next, we want to understand the housing situation for bootcamp attendees as it is currently. In the upcoming week, we will connect with students currently enrolled in bootcamp programs to better understand the ways in which they are able to form meaningful connections and create enriching experiences that support them during and after the program. We have the assumption that students find some of that in their living environments and seek to know which environments (whether formal or otherwise) are doing it well and where there is room for improvement.


Concept 2: Launchpad  

“a website resource that allows people to identify their skills, where those skills are transferable, and what skills gaps they might have”

Problem: People struggle to identify all the skills they gain from a certain role and then struggle to identify how those might be transferable to another role.

Hypothesis: That recruiters have a sense of how to validate alternative education and see ways that it may apply to roles they are hiring for.

Testing Method/Prototyping: We created a pitch deck and interviewed 3 recruiters.

This week, we interviewed three recruiters at various organizations in Austin. From those conversations we learned that they value experience, skills, and ability to adapt higher than they value just education. Some organizations also have a more holistic approach to evaluating applicants and look for areas where people may have transferable skills.

We also learned that Google has created an algorithm that takes veterans’ job codes and identifies jobs outside the military where their experience may transfer. This was a great discovery and we hope to understand how we may incorporate something similar to a wider variety of people.

veteran search

Next week, we are hoping to create a more concrete prototype of our product (getting into wireframing of our site and feature development and definition) beyond our pitch deck. We want to be able to better visualize what the resource would look like and how it would operate for our users, customers, and stakeholders.

Concept 3: Network Nearby

“an app that pairs people up for one on one interactions to help them build their network”

Problem: People are unable to identify the value they bring to a larger group and thus feel disconnected from many communities and isolated.

Hypothesis: That people are successfully finding ways to meet offline that allow them to feel connected and understand their own value to and role they play in a larger community.

Testing Method/Prototyping: Created a pitch deck, interviewed 1 of the organizers for LinkedIn Local (networking event), and attempted to connect our friends for coffee dates

This week we spoke with one of the organizers of LinkedIn Local to hear about the ways in which they are considering how to engage otherwise strangers. We learned a lot about how they structure their events to offer some sort topic for attendees to learn about in the form of speakers.

We also went through an exercise of attempting to pair our friends with one another to connect (in the way one would on our app). And, it was hard! We realized that it is very difficult to connect people who are not proactively attempting to connect. It is also very difficult to generate some sort of equation by which two people will find a point of connection. As such, we decided to scrap the exercise and just begin at the point of identifying people who want to connect with someone new. We plan on sharing out a Google form we created in the next week to identify people who are looking to connect with new people.

Screen Shot 2019-02-08 at 5.18.57 PM

In the next week, we also hope to shift focus to less consider a solution that pairs people together to create forced interactions but rather a solution that empowers people to make connections on their own. We are interested in exploring ways that people can build confidence in the value they bring to a community or a relationship and the ways in which people are building that confidence now.

What we need:

We are hoping to connect with:

  • Current bootcamp students
  • Bootcamp employees who field questions about community or housing
  • Individuals who have effectively created a visual or physical representation of their skillset without having a degree to land a job
  • Individuals who have effectively built solutions (whether a product, an event, or otherwise) that empowers people to build connections (to network) by identifying their own value to relationships

If you know anyone who fits this bill or if this sounds like you, email us at sara.miller@ac4d.com and kelsey.greathouse@ac4d.com !