This quarter was all about synthesizing, making and revising. It is a familiar process to designers, but we were introduced to the concept of business as a layer within the process. We were asked to consider the building blocks of a business as we were iterating our design ideas. This became an integral part of our conversations for research and testing. This led to a more detailed and holistic definition of our design ideas, which came through in the presentations last week and our ability to answer questions from the audience. The audience definitely gave us useful feedback to incorporate as we move forward. Once again this highlights the belief that it is important to go public with design throughout the process.
In the spirit of that idea here is some information about my specific project. The research that we did the second quarter highlighted the invisibility of the fastest growing homeless population, women and children. We learned that there is a connection between homelessness and foster care.
- Roughly 30-40% of the entire homeless population was in foster care at one point in their life and many young women exiting foster care need government assistance to meet their basic needs.
This was of particular interest to me given my history of working with youth organizations. I wanted to design something that would empower the youth to make choices and recognize their achievements. I believe helping them build confidence will lead to future success. I wanted to build on what we learned has been working—positive feedback and choices that allow the youth to establish their independence.
This led to the development of a new online tool that provides action plans for youth as they exit foster care to learn about financial planning. The plans help the youth build their confidence while gaining skills. OneUp offers support by providing options to connect with peers and experts.
This is based on the model pictured above. This model builds on current behavior as this is the generation of digital natives. The youth have grown up using computers—chatting with friends online and playing games. The new model removes some of the challenges that current programs face—fear of not meeting expectations, scheduled meetings and no formal way to involve peers.
Keeping this model in mind I began to design the online tool and share it with some 18-25 year olds for feedback. One of the screens is pictured above and highlights the key pieces of the tool.
- choice—youth are choosing action plans based on the level they are on and their personal goals
- easy—steps are kept short to encourage participation
- support—the youth are empowered to reach out for the type of support they want when they want it including online chats with experts for questions that might be embarrassing to ask in person, the ability to invite friends to cheer them on and tips and warnings for more facts
- community—share achievements with social networks, invite friends to participate with you, see what your peers are accomplishing in the feeds
- tracking progress—see progress as steps are completed with the tracking bar at the top
- achievements—earn badges as steps are completed, gain points as entire plans are completed that can be redeemed for real world rewards (ex. itune gift cards), complete enough action plans and move up a level exposing new opportunities
Continue to follow the blog to see how all of us work this quarter to refine our ideas and develop business plans around them. More making and revising….