Third Time’s the Charm

Garrett and I are happy to finally have the following pieces for our product:

  1. Connect Individuals Experiencing Homelessness (IEH) with housing options: either Landlords through the Landlord Outreach Program or with Housing Programs, through our own network of organizations
  2. Save the IEH’s information and allow them to update/expand upon the saved info
  3. Save the IEH’s status on different housing options: accepted, waiting listed with time, open  to application

The idea behind our product is that the person will answer a series of four questions about personal information, criminal record, eviction history and income, then with this the system will review criteria from the Landlords & housing programs to find the best fit for the individual. The personal information question will ask about age and gender; the other questions will be yes or no. This is meant to help the individual feel the system isn’t asking too much about them. After answer the four sections, then the system will review which of the different Landlords’ criteria the individual meets, then it will ask the Landlord if they’ll accept this person as their tenant. If there are no landlords that are willing to accept their situation, then the system will move to reviewing housing programs. We choose to use the Landlord’s first because it’s more likely that an individual will be able to be housed faster through this metric than through housing programs, which typically have long waitlists. Ultimately the system is just matching Housing Options and the Individual Experiencing Homelessness together.

It hasn’t been easy to get to this idea, we’ve run through at least three iterations of our product in this quarter alone. Knowing that these iterations have all happened before we even piloted the behavior makes me nervous. I anticipate during the pilot things will go ary, but we’ve planned each week so that we have a strategy to align to. If we stick to this strategy we’ll be able to adapt as the pilot does too.

Its also been odd to plan a business around this idea. First because the idea itself hasn’t been solidified, and thus we’ve constantly be change the Business plan. And secondly because business plans and strategy is a newer subject matter for me. Now that we have a better grasp on the product though, it will be easier to structure the business plan and it iteration upon both of them in tandem.

With four more weeks left in this quarter its time to bring back all the tools we’ve learned this year. Relying on those will help us navigate the ambiguous space we’re in now.

Moving From Ideation to Evaluation

The first steps of the home stretch have been taken. We have been talking our idea into existence; it has been focused, and become more explicit. It exists, but it’s still got a way to go. Moving from our prior model from the end of the prior quarter, Kelsey and I have come from the complicated desktop interface and moved towards something simple. We haven’t completely decided on a name quite yet, but it exists, and for now at least, it’s called Quarters. More importantly, focused to ensure our product would actually be usable, instead of a multi-tool. Tackling a multitude of problems is not realistic, so we have focused to trying to help find stable, affordable housing for our population.

After last quarter, Kelsey and I realized we needed to make a change. But we felt pretty lost in all of the ideas, all of the things we wanted to do. Focusing on just one thing is probably the most difficult part for me thus far. We argued, and we talked, and we tried to focus. There are so many things we could do, but what should we do? We have been working on our wireframes and our testing plan to confirm we have made the right choice.

The ideal state of our product is to make use of, and potentially cultivate, a group of private renters in the local area, as well as other inexpensive housing options, who will work with individuals coming from the street for housing. Right now there is no way for people to directly connect with these renters, and the supportive organizations normally work with case management referrals. Our product would allow someone to connect with a housing organization or private renter they would be applicable for.

To do this, we want to use a natural flowing dialogue system, with simple answers, mostly yes or no to begin with, age and gender. We want to gather information and make it feel like we aren’t probing or being intrusive. Setting the tone of the messages becomes incredibly important, it has to be respectful and well thought out. Some of the screens are shown below, as I stated above, they are rough, but we’re working towards something simple and effective. 3screen

Ultimately, our goal from all of this is to decrease the amount of time people spend on the street. We have our sights set high, we’re working on figuring out if this would even help. We’re trying to answer questions on whether there is infrastructure to support this, whether we could tap into the network of landlords willing to rent to individuals experiencing homelessness, or if we would have to try to make our own. As we make the wireframes more real, questions just keep popping up, what if this, what if that, what happens here? It feels like it will be endless, but it’s also exciting.

I kind of get lost in the making and working something into existence. It’s akin to making pottery, you poke holes, push it all the way back down to a ball of clay again, pull it up, see something to change, make a ball, repeat, only once it’s well made do you allow it to dry for polish. It seems like I have been thinking about design in too theoretical of a way to this point. I spent too much time thinking and talking, and not enough time making a thing. It’s easier to work when there is something to work off of, and it has taken entirely too long to come to this conclusion. Feedback and conversations around a thing are always better (they tell us this all the time).

As we move forward to testing our idea, we move cautiously. Working with the population we want to target, it’s difficult to not want to over-promise a capability, or paint an inaccurate picture of what will happen. Deciding how to introduce our idea has been difficult. What to say about what we are testing, and how to ensure we aren’t making promises we cannot keep. It makes me feel like a bad person, but false hope is worse than none at all. Our test consists of to texts or emails our participants and talk to them about their past, and find out some basic information about their history. Using that info, we will contact housing programs in the city to see if they have availability if our participants are eligible or would be a good fit for a transitional property or something low-rent. We hope to assist with renters assistance, but this is all contingent on our participants trusting us and keeping in contact, as well as our rigor in research.

We have been setting expectations low, explaining who we are, and what we are doing, very simply. We started research, thought of this thing, and want to see if it will help. A barrier we seem to have hit here as well is narrowing our focus of participants. Our target group has been difficult to pin down, so we have participants over a range of demographics, but all sharing a few of the most key qualities.

Our pilot begins Monday, we have a few participants scheduled for the first week. As we round out the third week of this final quarter, anxiety is high. I want this to work, I hope it does, and if it does not work, I hope we know why and can make the necessary changes to make this a viable and useful product. Because ultimately our goal is to help people live stable lives.

Validating a Hypothesis: Grocery List Optimizer

My team and I have decided on an idea for our final project, which is to create a grocery list optimizer (the name is still a work in progress). The mobile app will look for money saving opportunities within someone’s grocery list as well as making healthier recommendations. Moving forward with this idea we need to validate that we are building the right thing.

I had the urge to want to jump to creating the product now that’s it has become more of a concrete idea, but this is idealistic thinking. For all we know our idea may make sense theoretically, but in the real world we could possibly be missing the mark. This is why we will be conducting a pilot for the next 4-5 weeks. The point of the pilot is to validate our idea through a simplified version using manual tactics rather than creating the mobile application. In the end, it could manifest into something completely different than a mobile application.

The first week we are employing a strategy of testing our idea in person while our participants shop to capture as much feedback as possible. There are also small nuances we may not be thinking about that we will be able to observe to better our product. Although I’m excited to start getting people’s opinion, my mind was jumping into simulating the idea as close as possible for “accurate” results. This landed our group into focusing on the wrong thing, which I may have been facilitating a bit. There are many grocery store apps on the App Store, most of very poor quality. As we continued researching what currently exists we learned that HEB has their own app with many of the features we have planned on incorporating. I saw two things happened because of this.

  1. Momentum in our creation seemed to slow because “someone else is already doing something similar”.
  2. It limited our mind as to what was possible and began to slightly feel defeated.

 

HEB App

Because of the similarities, my mind was wanting to try to leverage the already existing system to help us conduct our pilot. I was excited to test using something that was so close to our idea because I felt then we could really focus on the details that separates us apart from them. The point I was missing is that the purpose of our pilot is to not simulate our system, but simulate the core value our system is providing.

The advantages we are providing over the HEB application, and many others in the grocery store is that:

  1. We are being more proactive about money saving opportunities.
  2. We aren’t limited to working with any singular grocery store chain.
  3. Most importantly, we are helping people eat healthier in an incremental manner
How it works

During our pilot, we have some primary assumptions that we are looking to confirm our hypothesis and whether or not our idea should manifest into another form. After all, we could design an award winning mobile application, but if the application doesn’t meet people where they are at it will ultimately fail. The assumptions we are testing include:

  • People use grocery lists, and if not, they will use one
  • People will choose a healthier option if prompted
  • People will choose a lower price over a brand they like
  • People are willing to leave brands and items they’re used to
  • People generally want to eat healthier
  • People will eat new items they purchase
  • People will be more likely to buy a new item if they get the new item before they get the original item

To quickly kick start our pilot and start gathering data we reached out to our friend and family network and asked people to send us pictures of their pantries and fridges. The purpose of this is to further understand the variety of food people keep at home, as well as starting to identify opportunities where we can begin making recommendations. One realization this made me think of is that by looking at individual items it could possibly feel healthier than what the end meal is being created. But this doesn’t exactly tell us what is being created when items are combined. This should be a consideration moving forward.

 

fridges

 

After spending a week testing our idea out in person we want to back further out to see if we can have the same affect without being there in person. We acknowledge that by conducting our test it in person we are introducing a bias that wouldn’t normally be there if they were shopping by themselves.  So it’s important to learn from this first week then run the rest of the pilot as remote as possible. Our goal is a minimum of 15 tests, ideally we would work a number of people for multiple weeks to learn how they shopping habits might evolve, even if in a relatively short period of time. Just because someone eats healthier one week, doesn’t mean they’ll continue down that path.

There are so many small nuances in using coupons and trying to save money while grocery shopping, this might have started to distract a little from our primary goal: helping people adopt a healthier diet with small gradual changes. The money saving techniques are how we plan on providing more value to the user to have more inclination to use our service, but we can’t let that turn us away from our primary goal.

Lastly, a very important detail we are addressing is the fact that we aren’t subject matter experts within the food space. As we started fleshing out the pilot and were forced to start making recommendations on real lists, we learned when fact checking the recommendations that were coming to mind that they weren’t as healthy as we originally thought. This is where it’s vital for us to bring in nutritionists and/or dietitians into our pilot. We have a meeting scheduled with a dietitian this week to help us navigate recommendations within our pilot. When our product becomes a reality we will work even closer with a dietitian, if not hire one, to ensure the quality of our product is where it needs to be to make healthy food recommendations.

There are even more questions that are derived when trying to build an idea than when creating an idea. I am excited to receive feedback from our pilot and mature our idea into something that will help people adopt a healthier diet. If you’d like more detail of our plan you may read our pilot plan deck.

Finding direction through nebulousness & complexity

Health, in bite sized increments

The building of a socially focused service

Identifying problems is easy. The world is full of whistleblowers and I, admittedly, used to be one. Diving into the messiness and coming out with something valuable is difficult. Holding true to the principles a solution needs to ascribe to in order to wholeheartedly build services built on the empathy cultivated with the population you are trying to serve  is theoretically arduous. It is “easy” to build a generally good idea. Building one that subdues complexity is not. Of course, these are the problems worth solving, and the ones the world’s creatives need to diligently focus on. Our current global climate is ripe with these challenges. What an opportune time to be exiting a high caliber design school with a problem solving methodology on the tool belt. Opportunities are everywhere, but let’s focus on the one my team (Sally Hall, Conner Drew) and I have been parsing through for the last ~20 weeks.

The inspiration for the design of this service came from experiences in the field doing research with mothers on food stamps who have diabetes. This acute focus helped surround our thinking with the most drastic and relevant needs that exist in regards to diet change. The service we are building meets the needs of this acute population, however, the principles embedded in its inner workings support a much wider population: anyone that has a motivation or need to make a diet change. Therefore, in launching this service we plan to start with guidance that will assist anyone in their path towards health and, in the near future, plan to utilize subject matter experts like dieticians and nutritionists to make our offering for those with monetary constraints and dietary diseases as robust and tailored to the individual as possible. We want to truly provide tools for the problem we set out to explore.

 

How it works

The service operates on 2 main threads. Saving money and gradually eating healthier.

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We set out to assist low-income populations eat a healthier diet by unseating the common belief that eating healthier is more expensive. This noble outset is potent, yet it proved difficult to find ways to hook people’s interest. This is where money saving comes in. Everyone wants to save money, i’m willing to make that sweeping generalization. Therefore leveraging money saving techniques like comparing product prices across and within stores, finding deals and coupons was our hook. A trojan horse service if you will.

The money saving techniques we analyze are techniques that anyone can use but when considering how difficult it is to manage all aspects of life inherent in the human experience, something as trivial as clipping coupons or looking at the price of bananas, milk and bread at Walmart, HEB and Fiestas to find the cheapest price just feels extraneous and ridiculous. However, when considering there are ~$14 billion in food related coupon savings annually dispersed and ~$3.4 billion in redeemed coupons that leaves a lot of room for savings. This is why we want to house all of these possibilities in one experience and take the pressure off of the individual. To be clear, my aim is not to present this in a way that sounds like we will be the next billion dollar startup. The amount of work at our backs is trivial compared to the amount in front of us between our current standings and our north star design. Numbers are simply stated to express opportunity.w:o GLO V2

w: GLO V2

Money saving aside there is the healthier component. We, as a nation, generally know that we are in a public health crisis so I will not spend an exorbitant amount of time on this topic. Dietary disease is at the crux of the health of our people. The way that “the system” responds to these problems is anything but proactive. Blatantly, we tell people they have a disease that could kill them and provide them with minimal resources that preach drastic change all at once. This kind of care is not actionable and, based on our research, people diagnosed largely fall back into their routines and habits. The point I want to highlight is the drastic change that is encouraged. These ideas for change are not realistic. There is a reason we teach kids addition first in school, not calculus. Then add subtraction, multiplication, division and so forth. People need a foundation for knowledge and knowledge gradually builds with more experience and more input from the world. Our service mimics this truth about how people learn. Incremental steps for gradual change. We plan to meet the users of our service right where they are in their eating habits and start by saving them money to gain trust. Gradually, as trust builds, we will invite our users in the direction of health with small steps. Changing white bread for wheat. After wheat feels comfortable maybe add some seeds. This kind of guidance will provide stability. This stability is essential for the cognitive load on people trying to make change. Especially change with something as personal and ongoing as food requires patience. This sensitive guidance is our most essential component.


Why the way it works is important

 

The nuances touched on in the previous paragraph hold merit because of the time we spent in people’s homes, talking to them about food, looking through their kitchens with them, hearing their trials and tribulations, successes and prides. Developing empathy. We spoke with 18 people spending ~90 minutes with each of them. Marination in their words, finding patterns and anomalies across behaviors and perspectives informs design in a way that affords a “standing the problems shoes” approach. This ethnographic approach allowed us to largely drop our own world views and gain a wide angle view of food. These people have lived with me for the past 20 weeks. When I make decisions or come to new insights I reference their perspectives, their circumstances. It is pretty astounding what immersion in a problem feels like. I feel responsible for bettering this situation.

The gestalt around our service of incremental change was founded from experiencing people in the field that had had success in making a dietary change. These positive deviants had experienced change in a way that allowed them to build knowledge and change in behavior slowly. These were the only examples of change that stuck long term. For this reason we promise to provide value in the form of a gradual path of change towards a healthy diet.

Moving forward

The next phases of development require mayhem management and an astute focus on subtle behaviors. Food is so damn complicated. A different perspective everywhere you look. The majority of these perspectives are trying to share or enroll others in their ideology. This becomes paramount when it is backed by companies and money attempting to spread influence in the name of their products.

We have run one pilot test so far. During this initial experiment we gathered somebodies grocery list, found all relevant coupons and price reductions as well as healthy options we wanted to suggest and dove in. We got to H-E-B early and gathered all of the items we wanted to suggest. When our participant showed up we let her run the show. We followed her through the store in observation. All of our pre-thinking and planning got thrown out the window about 10 minutes in. There is such nuance in how people place value on food and in trying to make healthier suggestions that are very similar to what she already was planning to buy was much more difficult than it had seemed in the idealized picture I had in my mind.

The first difficulty surfaced quickly. The list she provided us was much too broad.

 Monicas list

With this lack of specificity we were very ineffective in providing options that were similar. She had written “bread”. Think about how many different kinds of bread there are. Now think about why you like your favorite kinds. Is it even possible to offer a suggestion that will be accepted with enjoyment when you consider all of these nuances that play into preference? This is an essential question that I have been wrestling with.

 

A quick short story from the field:

We get in the bread aisle and she picks up a relatively healthy bread. Our criteria for providing choices was to give 3 options: any product with relevant coupons, the cheapest applicable option, and a slightly healthier option that was similar in type and price (with an aim for cheaper). She picks up a whole wheat seed bread. The cheapest option in the store is wonder bread. That criteria for offering swap options goes out the window. Im looking at the nutrition labels of similar breads while my research partner Sally asks the pilot participant questions about her choice. She tells us she likes that bread because of the texture. I think “Well, we’re fucked then.” She values this bread choice because of texture. That means to provide a similar product I would need to put them all in my mouth. I decide not to try to offer her the bread i’m holding that contains 1 less gram of sugar than her choice and put it back. This example illustrates well the mayhem of the food space and leaves me with a hardset realization that, for this service to be successful we need to intimately understand our customers.

Taking intangibility into a form that is meaningful and consumable is the highest priority at this point in the process.

 

Difficulties of managing mayhem

In attempt to capture all of the relevant information from the pilot I crafted a spreadsheet that would house all of the items on her list as well as all of the swaps for healthier and cheaper items that we wanted to make.

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This mental run through of the process I was expecting seemed viable. There is room in the above spreadsheet for all relevant information. When we got in the store with the participant reality proved much different.

pre-plan list

This obviously proved to be the wrong way to capture the results. The refinement of this capturing process was informative.

organized list

This refinement of the capturing process tells me, at this stage, it needs to be much more qualitative for the learning we are immersed in. To truly learn how our customers think it needs to allow for quotes and the capture of nuance.

Assumptions and how to test them

Our current hypothesis for why this idea will work rides on a few assumptions. Primarily believing that:

  1. People use grocery lists, and if not, they will use one
  2. People will choose a healthier option if prompted
  3. People will choose a lower price over a brand they like
  4. People are willing to leave brands and items they’re used to
  5. People generally want to eat healthier
  6. People will eat new items they purchase
  7. People will be more likely to buy a new item if they get the new item before they get the original item

As we move forward in our creation and refinement process we plan to map out our trajectory moving from operating in very close quarters with our participant’s experience to gradually removing ourselves from the in-store experience as we learn how to manage this complexity.

 

Northstar possibilities

As we are in the weeds trying to learn about initial needs and subtle nuances we also have our eye set on the future. In the future we would like to gradually create a trusted relationship with our customers. We want them to be able to count on our advice. We see ourselves as having the potential to be an essential component of many shoppers grocery store experience. It is exciting thinking about the arduous path towards this grandiose future. Now let me get off the computer and jump back in the weeds.

GLO CJ Map - Linear

 

Pilot Plan Presentation v1

Figuring out how to promote a healthy diet, one grocery item at a time

My team and I are developing a service to help someone gradually adopt a healthier diet. First, we will find the cheapest way to buy a shopper’s grocery list, and then, we will gradually suggest healthier substitutions or additions.

Testing our service

To refine the idea, we will recruit shoppers to test our service over the next several weeks. During our first week of the pilot, we plan to follow each participant through the store to learn as much as possible about their shopping habits, decision making, and meal planning.

IMG_0220

As the original idea took the form of a mobile app, this exercise will help release our minds from the design of “the screen” and help us focus on the value delivered. Even if the final manifestation is an app, interacting with the participant in-person will allow us to discover the ideal “conversation” to help the shopper receive the maximum benefit.

One drawback of this technique is that our presence may make shoppers more likely to choose the swap offered. Additionally, we will provide $5 HEB gift cards to thank shoppers for their time, which may make shoppers feel obliged to take our recommendations. Results may therefore be skewed. It will be important to lessen our physical presence as quickly as possible in subsequent weeks.

Recruitment

We will target people who go grocery shopping on a regular basis and need help adopting a healthier diet. This means that our recruitment efforts will span across socio-economic status. To quickly screen, we will ask potential participants to send photos of their refrigerator, freezer, and pantry, for a quick assessment of the kinds of food they bring home. 

part0-1 part0-2

If you think about health on a spectrum, from burgers to salad, we’re looking to help people who buy more food towards the burger end of the spectrum.

spectrum.001

As we aim for gradual change, we hope to recruit at least 5 participants who will test with us multiple times over the next month. This duration will help us project whether or not our tactics and suggestions will make a positive difference in the long run.

Coupons

Given our effort to help shoppers save money, we began to look into coupons. After a bit of research, we realized that we must be careful to ensure that we’re actually using coupons to benefit the customer, and not the corporation.

IMG_0192

According to Rice University professor, Utpal Dholakia Ph.D, the pitfalls of coupons boil down to four main factors:

  • Regular coupon users pay less attention to the actual price and often end up paying more money.
  • Regular coupon users buy things they don’t need.
  • Regular coupon users buy more than they need.
  • Regular coupon users spend beyond their budget.

IMG_0250

Indeed, when we ran the pilot for the first time, our shopper considered taking advantage of the “2 for $6” yogurt sale, but then realized that she could not finish all 8 yogurts before their expiration date.

When we suggest sales, coupons, or lower prices, we must make sure that we’re not distracting our shoppers from a more responsible choice. 

Subject Matter Experts & Nutrition

We know that there are as many different opinions about health & nutrition as there are people in the world. It seems there’s always a new study about why this food may be good for you and that food bad.

Given the complexity of nutrition as a science, we will engage Nutritionists throughout the process to 1) make healthy swap recommendations and 2) frame why one food may be healthier than the other.

When running through our very first test, we saw just how much we needed this expertise. This particularly clear than on the bread aisle — so many different choices! Moreover, even if we find the “healthiest” bread, our recommendations must also fit the shopper’s taste preference as well as budget.

IMG_0223

The Paradox of Choice: Fighting the power of brands & familiarity

The grocery store can be an overwhelming place, which is no wonder why we’ve met so many people who buy the same thing over and over again.

Have you ever actually looked at all the options down the cereal aisle?

IMG_0235

There are 12 different kinds of Cheerios, alone: Cheerios, Honey Nut Cheerios, Very Berry Cheerios, Multigrain Cheerios, Apple Cinnamon Cheerios, Honey Nut Cheerios Medley Crunch, Chocolate Cheerios, Fruity Cheerios, Cheerios Protein, Frosted Cheerios, Cheerios + Ancient Grains (?), and Pumpkin Spice Cheerios (so you can be in the holiday spirit, all year long).

Because of the incredible volume and variety of grocery inventory, it’s understandable that a customer’s brand loyalty would be hard to break — why spend time analyzing a sea of options, when your current choice is sufficient? Observations like these also prompt questions like:

  1. Rather than trying to influence a shopper’s cereal choice, would it be better to focus our efforts on change that might occur on an aisle with fewer choices, leaving the shopper with more mental space to consider other options?
  2. Or, if we endeavor to tackle the cereal aisle, would it be best to introduce a new, healthier item before the shopper enters the grocery store, before she becomes too distracted by all the other choices?

The more I learn about grocery shopping, the more I learn about the marketing strategies and business behind it. For example, I had no idea that stores rent out shelving space, and that, depending on the shelf, companies will pay more or less; the most expensive shelving is “the bull’s eye” zone (usually the 2nd and 3rd shelves), as it’s in the customer’s eye line.

In order to help our shoppers, we will have to compete with powerful marketing techniques, and help our customers look above and below for cheaper, and healthier options. A benefit of our service is offering 1-2 healthy alternatives per the shopper’s original, unhealthy choice — still giving the shopper a choice, but not so many that lead to overwhelm.

Capturing Feedback & Results

To capture feedback and results, we will document the shopper’s entire journey through the grocery store via photos, highlighting different decision points.

IMG_0281

We will also note the shopper’s path through the store, presenting what other items they might naturally see or pass, and therefore be more open to try in the future.

Lastly, as the shopper goes through the entire process, we will check and update the following assumptions:

  1. People use grocery lists, and if not, they will use one
  2. People will choose a healthier option if prompted
  3. People will choose a lower price over a brand they like
  4. People are willing to leave brands and items they’re used to
  5. People generally want to eat healthier
  6. People will eat new items they purchase
  7. People will be more likely to buy a new item if they get the new item before they get the original item

Measuring Success

To measure success, we will note the following:

  1. How many of the healthy alternatives the shopper accepted and why.
  2. If we were able to save the shopper money, and if so, how much.
  3. If the shopper would like to use our service again.

Other reflections

Keeping our eyes on the prize: Given the fact that coupons, price comparisons, and sales are so immensely complicated, we’ve found ourselves focusing more on how we can help someone save money, than eat healthily. In order to make an impact, we must keep coming back to our core value — helping someone gradually adopt a healthier diet.

Impulse Buys: One question we’ve asked ourselves is how we plan for impulse buys. When surrounded by so many options, it’s only natural for shoppers to pick up items not originally intended. In that instance, how does our service push the healthiest, cheapest option?

Convenience vs. Stick: If we go ahead and pull the healthiest/cheapest grocery items, we believe the shopper will be more likely to adopt those items. On the other hand, giving the shopper a choice, prompting slightly more reflection and initiative, may make the healthier habit more “sticky.”

Grocery Pilot Plan Presentation v1x

Grocery List Optimizer – Turning on the engine

Sally Hall|Conner Drew|Elijah Parker

Project Backdrop

Dietary disease is at an all-time high — 27 million Americans have diabetes and 30 million Americans have heart disease. These are leading causes of death in America. This is an interesting contrast when considering the fact that the demand for health and healthy eating is, simultaneously, the highest it has ever been. The gap that exists between those 2 truths has a lot of niches to fill.

 

Articulating the Problem

The gaps and inefficiencies that exist in the current landscape sound simple to the ear but are exponentially confusing when trying to encapsulate them, in inverse, as solutions in a product. First of all, the food space is saturated with products, information, branding and marketing efforts that create a lot of mental work for customers to be able to ces out what is true and what they should do. This often comes down to people’s world view and generational influence because there are no definitively clear answers from trustable sources.

The next huge influencer is money. Healthy food is seen as being more expensive than less healthy options. This high cost of healthy food partnered with the high cost of services that offer dietary support adds to the monetary difficulty of adopting a healthy diet and lifestyle. Clinics that serve low-income populations or government health care providers and systems are overloaded with clients and are inherently inefficient in thoroughly responding to clients needs. There are products and services out there that try to address this need. There are a gamut of diet plans and “lose weight fast programs” as well as shopping lists and nutrition trackers, however, these all require high levels of behavior change all at one time which is like a sprint and not realistic when considering long term change.

Lastly, there are a multitude of ways to save money on food: coupons, sales etc. These offerings are presented in a disorganized fashion, without consistency which makes them hard to depend on. The need for products and services that guide users towards health inside of a framework that understands their current context and prioritizes price and savings requires a level of choreography in planning and trust in company intention that does not currently exist in the digital market and that is what we set out to do.

Gaps and inefficiencies in the current market:

Screen Shot 2017-03-20 at 4.22.32 PM

 

Our product

We are building a mobile application. This application ties a thread through eliminating scientific jargon about the food space, meeting users where they are in the context of their food routines, and navigating progression with a gradual approach on the path to a healthy diet.

Value Promise:

We promise to provide a path of change towards a healthier diet

 

How it works

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Our product’s intention

The inspiration for this products design came from experiences in the field doing research with mothers on food stamps who have diabetes. This acute focus helped surround our thinking with the most drastic and relevant needs that exist in regards to diet change. The product we have built meets the needs of this acute population, however, the principles embedded in its inner workings support a much wider population; anyone that has a motivation or need to make a diet change. Therefore, in launching this product we plan to start with guidance that will assist anyone in their path towards health and, in the near future, plan to utilize subject matter experts like dieticians and nutritionists to make our offering for those with monetary constraints and dietary diseases as robust and tailored to the individual as possible. We want to truly provide tools for the problem we set out to explore.

 

Business structure

We are setting up to start a company with Benefit Corporation status. Being a B-corp is aligned with our mission as a business because at the core of our model is social impact, helping low-income individuals to adopt a healthier diet. This core value drives the engine and we want to be held accountable to that initiative staying consistently at the forefront. This status will also help us establish trust in our users. They will know our intentions are purely in support. Based on the service we’re providing, we need to have a consistent revenue stream to support our growth efforts and build out towards our north star design.

Here is our slide deck and written business plan:

GLO Business Plan Deck

GLO Written Business Plan

Quarters

Simple Beginnings

As students at AC4D, Kelsey and I were tasked with finding a social problem with the theme of sustainability. We were both passionate about the sustainability of affordable housing in Austin, TX. During our research into the space, we found that “affordable” housing in Austin still is not all that affordable. The price range for these units and homes are still only available to people who have income above $45,000. There are so many people who make less than this in the city, so many people who struggle to afford rent and need help or face living on the street. So we went to speak with those individuals specifically. At ARCH and around downtown Austin, we spoke with individuals about their experiences with homelessness and what it is like to try to get off of the street. We found that people do not always want to be off of the street, we saw how rapid rehousing services and permanent supportive housing services help the people who are most vulnerable. But we also saw how many people are left behind. How many people are lost by the system and do not qualify for these housing initiatives. We wondered: are there programs for these individuals? Do they have any options? They felt like they were standing still; like there was no where for them to go but down until they were where the system would pick them up again.

We found services who would work with nearly all of our research participants. We wondered: How can we connect these individuals to the support they need?

Enter Quarters, a web-based experience for connecting individuals with housing services near them. Using a responsive and dynamic dialogue system, we find what these people need to apply for housing programs, guide them through the processes, and connect them with the organization to apply.

Our Promise

We promise to connect individuals experiencing homelessness to stable housing. Using Quarters, individuals will be able to connect with housing programs catering to their needs and their situation. Quarters will also help individuals keep track of their applications, contact the organizations for their progress towards housing, and assist in getting documents required for some applications. The people who we are focusing on need structure, but do not receive any. Quarters is filling a gap left by the system and current case management, helping individuals who are in need and receive little help from the state as the system is now.

Our Business Structure

Current cost of an individual on the street is nebulous. Figures range from just above $14,000 to upwards of $30,000. One cost estimate stays the same: $10,000 to house, and give case management to, the chronically homeless of the country.
Quarter would help to reduce the cost of individuals to the state, regardless of case management. They would find housing faster, reducing their costs to emergency organizations and charities for homeless individuals. We hope to expand Quarter to include free legal, job, and financial organizations these people need as well. These additions will also help stabilize our target population’s lives beyond housing, keeping them housed, off of the street, and living for themselves.

To cover costs, we would use local, state, and federal funds appropriated for use in non-profits helping individuals experiencing homelessness. There are many funds available for people in this space, as well as a consistent public spotlight on the problem. Any lack of funding would need to be made up from donors. Whether corporate or private, donations will help cover overhead. Monetizing Quarters seems predatory; as our population is already marginalized. Funding for our endeavors would need to be appropriated from public monies or private funding. Our in-progress business plan can be found here.

The Best of Outcomes > The Best of Intentions

Designers have great power to shape the future of humanity, and with that, as Stan Lee would say, comes great responsibility. Therefore, at AC4D, we focus on using design to make a positive social impact. But how do we know if the change we wish to inspire will have the desired effect? Or worse, how do we know it won’t bring negative consequences?

The truth is, even with the best of intentions, we can’t know how our design will affect society until it’s released in reality. At that point, intentions become irrelevant, and outcomes are the only significant measure.

The Best of Intentions: One-Size Fits All

As Michael Hobbes writes in his article “Stop Trying to Save the World,” many well-meaning aid efforts have followed the trend of “exciting new idea, huge impact in one location, influx of donor dollars, quick expansion, failure.”

As a case in point, consider the clean drinking water project, Playpumps. It was an inspired idea — a water system that used the energy created by children playing to operate a water pump. People need water, children need to play, it seemed like a perfect combination. Although initially lauded for its innovation, it was quickly criticized for being too expensive, less effective than traditional hand-pumps, and reliant on child labor.

playpumps

According to Hobbes, “Many of the villages hadn’t even been asked if they wanted a PlayPump, they just got one, sometimes replacing the handpumps they already had. In one community, adults were paying children to operate the pump.”

Nevertheless, this idea should not be discounted altogether — in some villages, under the right circumstances, they were helpful, and are still installed as a “niche solution” on playgrounds and at schools in poor rural areas.

The real issue was not that Playpumps was a poor idea, but that it was poorly executed.There was little collaboration or research with the people the organization sought to serve, and the implementation was “one-size-fits-all” — based on the fact that since it was an effective solution for some, it could be applied to everyone.

The Worst(?) of Intentions: Corporate Social Responsibility & Cause Marketing

Corporate Social Responsibility
Advocacy is now rivaling sex as Corporate America’s main selling strategy. For example, in response to the Drumpf administration’s travel ban, Airbnb offered free housing to anyone denied entry and Starbucks pledged to hire 10,000 refugees. Seeing this primarily as a marketing tactic, Alex Holder writes that “it’s difficult to separate the fact that while these brands are showcasing pedigree social responsibility, ultimately they’re helping refugees because it sells milky lattes and cheap holiday accommodation.”

In another related example, Lyft donated $1 million to the American Civil Liberties Union after Uber continued to pick up passengers from the JFK Airport amidst a taxi driver strike against the travel ban. Soon after, Lyft bested Uber in the App store for the first time.

While there may be ulterior motives to these corporate actions, the question is… does it matter? Free housing, jobs, million dollar donations… indeed, there is a clear benefit to the companies in terms of public favor and increased revenue, but would we rather do without these grand gestures?

Perhaps it would be stronger ethically for companies to contribute socially, but to do so quietly. But, if not for Lyft’s public donation, Uber may not have pledged to provide legal support and establish a $3 million legal defense fund for threatened drivers.

Cause Marketing
Product(RED) is an organization that recruits companies like the Gap and Apple to participate in cause marketing, donating a portion of product sales to the fight against AIDS. While Product(RED)’s intentions seem pure, some believe that corporate partners only use the charitable association to sell more goods.

beats

Apple donates a portion of its red Beats headphone proceeds to Product(RED).

Buylesscrap.com is particularly critical of Product(RED). It rallies people to reject the “ti(red) notion that shopping is a reasonable response to human suffering” and to donate directly to the Global Fund, without consuming.

Yes, we all need to buylesscrap.com. Yes, we’re destroying the environment. Yes, we’re screwed and the rich are moving to Mars… and, if Product(Red) can capitalize on a deeply ingrained behavior, and raise $465 million to help prevent HIV… can we really fault them for it? I’ll make buylesscrap.com a deal — if they can eradicate consumer culture, I will switch my position and insist that Bono find another way to save the world.

While it’s clear companies have something to gain from their social impact initiatives, their investments and corresponding promotions unquestionably benefit society.

The Worst of Internet: the Rise of Fake News

According to author Mark Manson, the early creators of the internet had good intentions.

“They worked for decades toward a vision of seamlessly networking the world’s people and information. They saw greater empathy and understanding across nations, ethnicities, and lifestyles. They dreamed of a unified and connected global movement with a single shared interest for peace and prosperity.”

Oops. Especially with the rise of fake news, and Facebook’s almost impenetrable echo chambers, we seemed to have missed the mark. 

161030122157-fake-news-stelter-00003403-540x304

But then I realize that the internet is a reflection of our society — “echo chambers” have always existed. We love to surround ourselves with like people, it makes us feel safe, secure, and validated. “Fake news” has always been there — the rewriting of history books, or (less severe), those “FW: FW: FW: Obama…” emails from your grandparents — the only difference is it can now travel exponentially faster through the veins of social media.

The good news is that now these very tribal tendencies of pushing out or dismissing the “other,” over perceived differences, are now out in the open. The public outcry against echo chambers and fake news is a call to get curious about the other, to learn about their hopes, their fears, their dreams, and perhaps find some common ground.

In a way, this is a signal for a new iteration of the internet. Designer Jon Kolko says that both the good and the bad are designers’ fault and their ongoing responsibility. I also argue that, as consumers, we have a responsibility to think critically about how we interact with a particular product or service. So, while the initial intentions of the internet did not become what 80s and 90s technologists dreamed it would be, designers and its consumers have a responsibility to create a new version, and keep moving towards the greater vision of peace and understanding.

Conclusion

Sometimes impure motivations can still bring great benefit, and other times, good intentions can bring about the worst of consequences. As designers, the best we can do is diligently research the problem we’re trying to solve, project all the possible implications of our proposed solution, and continue to iterate as the design interacts with the world.


Other Explorations

To explore the complexities of social impact, I created a simple board game that follows the development of a non-profit organization working to increase access to education among low-income individuals in Managua, Nicaragua.

The game requires, at minimum, two teams of two, wherein each team takes turns pulling out cards from the deck. Depending on the outcome of the card, the team would move closer or further away from the finish.

Profound Pursuit board

Research 1

Research 2

Execution 1 Execution 2 Funding 1 Funding 2  Sketch 1 Sketch 2 Sketch 3 & Echo Chamber

 

The Outcome, Regardless of Intention

As designers, everything we do from the type of problems we work on solving to making the choice of using a radio button or a check box stems from intention. Without intention, choices are made blindly causing an arbitrary execution. I believe intentions are important within design, but where the conversation becomes a bit muddy is when we began considering the outcome of our intentions. There are examples where, despite the best intentions, the outcome is less than ideal, and vice versa. This leads me to ask the question, “how important is intention when the outcome is what creates impact?”

 

One space where this question applies is when developing for the emerging world. Most people are familiar that there is a good amount of effort in assisting developing countries who are less fortunate than our own. There was an effort to provide clean water to people who did not have easy access. Michael Hobbes explains, “It seemed like such a good idea: A merry-go-round hooked up to a water pump. In rural sub-Saharan Africa, where children are plentiful but clean water is scarce, the PlayPump harnessed one to provide the other.” In theory this is a fantastic idea, except when the outcome is examined. After implementing the PlayPumps, Frontline returned to see the impact that had been created. They, “Discovered pumps rusting, billboards unsold, women stooping to turn the wheel in pairs. Many of the villages hadn’t even been asked if they wanted a PlayPump, they just got one, sometimes replacing the hand pumps they already had.”

 

The biggest opportunity in this example would have been to reach out to the recipients of the PlayPumps and learned how this effort would have been received. If the community wanted this or if they would even use it. It would have been discovered that this solution may not have been the best solution to the situation at hand, or even a solution at all.

 

There is another example where working with the developing world was in fact successful. New Story was able to build 151 houses in Haiti which ended up housing 1,200 people where as the Red Cross changed course after only building six houses even though they had raised half a billion dollars for the cause. The Red Cross, “struggled to attract residents because,’ the areas they planned on building were, ‘too far from basic needs like work and food.” The cofounder of New Story, Alexandria Lafci, explains, “This is what participatory design is so crucial and is something we incorporate into all of our communities. We ask families for their input about the location, the style of home, broader community needs, etc.” The findings led New Story to deciding to build their community only about 10 minutes away from their jobs and support networks. Because of this, the community was in a position to adopt the housing because it fit into what was important into their own personal life, unlike the PlayPump example. They are expanding to launch similar efforts in El Salvador and Bolivia, but the models will be slightly different because each location affords unique needs. Participatory design will be used once again to accommodate the small amount of income that exists (unlike the population in Haiti) and will implement a pay it forward model to invest in future communities. Once again, tailored to the specific needs of the population New Story is designing for.

 

A mix of these two efforts include the example of New York’s High Line project. Robert Hammond had the idea of “turning a disused elevated railway on Manhattan’s West Side into a high-design ‘linear park’. He thought it would attract maybe 300,000 visitors a year.” The problem lies in that, “he and his co-founder Joshua David didn’t really think about what the High Line could do to the neighborhood, apart from adding a little extra breathing room.” The project was successful in the sense that it drew new business and condos, as well as the expectation that it will generate $1 billion to the city over the next 20 years. Where the project was unsuccessful is that the park didn’t appeal to the direct neighborhood it was originally intended for. On either side of the park were local housing projects, which consisted primarily of people of color. The traffic the park ended up drawing were predominately white and mostly tourists. Reactions to the park consisted of feelings that local residents, “didn’t feel it was built for them; they didn’t see people who looked like them using it, and they didn’t like the park’s mulch-heavy programming.”

 

During the project locals were asked questions similar to which colors they liked, not necessarily what specifically they would like from the park itself. Because of this Hammond admits that, “ultimately, we failed.” Where they story begins to change is when you look at what happened next. This self proclaimed failure led Hammond creating the High Line Network, which is a coalition of designers and planners building adaptive reuse parks in the High Line mold. The entire purpose of the network is to further examine how to improve neglected neighborhoods, without pushing away they very people they intend to serve. A component of this organization is conducting listening sessions to hear feedback about his project, which started a number of new initiatives including paid-job trainings and further development on the two housing projects previously mentioned. These efforts are due to participatory design, which leads to a more successful execution of intention.

 

Another frame within this conversation is that of corporate philanthropy. One side of this conversation tends to lean towards a negative view that corporations are only incorporating philanthropy into their business model in order to sell more goods, regardless of the outcome. For example, the PRODUCT (RED) campaign is a campaign founded by Gap that has asked companies to create a red version of their product and donate a percentage of the proceeds towards the HIV/AIDS effort in Africa. One could argue that this effort feels ingenuous due to the fact companies are pushing commoditization as an effort for social impact. They see the effort as saying, “if you buy this product, then you’ll save lives.” In fact their slogan is quite literally “buy (RED), save lives.” On one hand I completely agree and there is something unsettling about this effort that doesn’t seem to fit the effort.

 

With that being said, despite some room for improvement in transparency, the organization has raised $465 million dollars and claims to have impacted over 90 million lives. It has allowed doctors to spend more time on their research and slow down HIV transmission. This is where intention becomes tricky. I can see the intention of this effort coming from a place of genuine interest in causing an impact, but I can also potentially see the motivating factor being that to drive higher profits via a philanthropic effort. This is a detail we may never fully know, but one fact remains: the amount of money raised to increase resources for a social cause. If this is the outcome with either intention driving the effort, then how much does it truly matter? An opportunity was identified to raise a significant amount of money for a good cause and was acted upon. Yes, I would love to believe that the effort was genuinely altruistic, but if you were the one directly benefiting PRODUCT (RED), does it change the outcome of the benefit?

 

Initial intentions in design can be come from a variety of motivating factors, but I would argue that the outcome is what is most important. Action can come from a place of good intention yet have negative outcomes, while it can also come from a place of poor intentions and have positive outcomes. Regardless, the outcome is what we are left with whether that be further conversation, fundraising, or housing for people in need. Ideally, we should consider the outcome while we are designing in order to optimize our intentions.

The Road to Hell is Paved with Good Intentions

As we began to read the series of articles entitled “With the best intentions”, I found myself questioning not the motivations of the different projects and products, but where the designer’s responsibility lies. When is a designer no longer responsible for the products they create? Within this post I examine two articles’ arguments about designer’s responsibility, then finally come to my own conclusion.

For the purposes of understand where responsibility ends, I’ve created a small chart which illustrates four phases: Research, Design, Development and Real World. Each of these phases are executed in any project or product. Below is the chart:

 

BlankScale

 

The piece by Michael Hobbes, made it seem as though the effects of a product are out of the designers hands. Hobbes states  “when you improve something, you change it in ways you couldn’t have expected”. He sees the effects of a product as unpredictable and thus not the responsibility of the designers. It almost seems like he expects these unforeseen changes to happen whenever a designer improves a product. He is rightly supported in this concept that after implementation unforeseen effects of a product begin to develop. He and five other authors that we read, wrote about other products and their unpredicted consequences. Below are the products these other authors used as well as where the breakdowns happened, and what unexpected changes have been the negative effect of the product:

 

“Fortune at the bottom of the pyramid: A Mirage”, Aneel Karnani

Product: Microcredits

The Breakdown: “Microcredit does not alleviate (income) poverty, but rather reduces vulnerability by smoothing consumption. A few studies have even found that microcredit has worsened poverty; poor households simply become poorer through the additional burden of debt.”

Where it occurred: “The vast majority of microcredit clients are caught in subsistence activities with no prospect of competitive advantage. The self-employed poor usually have no specialized skills and often practice multiple occupations…With low skills, little capital and no scale economies, these businesses operate in an area with low entry barriers and too much competition; they have low productivity and lead to meager earnings that cannot lift their owners out of poverty.”

The change that they couldn’t have expected: Founders of microcredit programs never expected that their recipients would not have the skills to create a more niche service or product. There was a grandiose illusion that all recipients of a microcredit would be innovative business machines. In reality not all individuals living in poverty can lift themselves out through entrepreneurial practices.

 

“The High Line’s Next Balancing Act”, Laura Bliss

Product: High Line Park

The Breakdown: “We wanted to do it for the neighborhood…ultimately we failed.”

Where it occurred: Residents of the High Line community said they don’t use the park because of three things, “They didn’t feel like it was built for them; they didn’t see people who looked like them using it; and they didn’t like the park’s mulch-heavy programming.”

The change that they couldn’t have expected:  The designers never expected that their park (which did include community input meetings before opening) would have not been enough to encourage the community to participate. The design team thought their efforts would have been enough for the community to feel welcome, but they ultimately fell short. The drastic gentrification their park contributed to was also an unpredicted change caused by their designs. Ultimately, the project’s effects didn’t make the community feel welcomed and pushed many members out.

 

“Sex doesn’t sell anymore, activism does. And don’t the big brands know it.” Alex Holder

The Product: Large corporations are “allocating their marketing budget to good causes”.

The Breakdown: Corporations are donating with the expectation of a return on their investment.

Where it occurred: Companies expect these returns both in the customer base as well as in “favors”. When corporations donate to organizations, they expect their customers to choose them in the future because the company practices “good business”. When corporations donate in a political capacity, they expect that the candidate or political organization will keep the company’s best interest at heart.

The change that they couldn’t have expected: Corporations didn’t and don’t expect their customer to see through their thinly veiled acts of generosity, as actual acts of compensation and marketing, but individuals are beginning to see them just as that. Customer know these acts of “generosity” as acts of compensates. As companies implement ethically and morally wrong practice within their businesses, they use their corporate social responsibility initiatives to compensate for their destruction of both society and the environment.

 

“Everything is Fucked and I’m Pretty Sure It’s the Internet’s Fault”, Mark Manson

Product: The Internet

The breakdown: “The internet… makes it profitable to breed distrust”

Where it occurred: “The internet… was not designed to give people the information they need. It gives people the information they want.”

The change that they couldn’t have expected: Creators of the internet could not have anticipated that their invention would be used by individuals not to enlighten themselves, but to comfort themselves. Manson argues that the internet by supplying everyone with all the information of the world didn’t lead to heightened intelligence levels, but rather distrust of information due to the overwhelming saturation of availability. This then leads to individuals only seeking out echo chambers for news and information about the world around them, which creates comfort.

 

“Save Africa: The commodification of (Product) Red campaign” Cindy N. Phu

Product: (Product) Red Campaign

The Breakdown: The Product (Red) campaign hasn’t “Saved Africa” contrary to its catch phrase.

Where it occurred: The AIDS/HIV epidemic is an ongoing battle in both places the Global Fund is active and inactive.

The change that they couldn’t have expected: The periphery effects of the Product (Red) campaign has lead to “many nonprofit organizations dedicated to the HIV/AIDS crisis in Africa have not been able to receive grants or funding through donations…because of the misconception that Africa is saved.” The organization which created the campaign did not anticipate that the campaign would actually inhibit other humanitarian aid efforts in fighting against the same issues.

 

In each of these examples, there always seems to be some unforeseen consequence of the product that was overlooked, forgotten or unanticipated, which then have dire or sever consequences. Hobbes would believe these unforeseen consequences as part of life. He would not place the failure or consequences of these products on the designers. Below is the chart with Hobbes’ idea of responsibility marked in the phases of design.

 

HobbesScale

 

A product’s unforeseen effects or changes on an ecosystem to Jon Kolko’s standards’ are the responsibility of the designers themselves. Kolko writes that “we are responsible for both the positive and negative repercussions of our design decisions, and these decisions have monumental repercussions”. With this concept, Jon would argue that the fact the High Line doesn’t connect with the community it’s built within is a fault of the designers themselves. He would argue, the fact that nonprofits working with HIV/AIDS victims within Africa cannot receive the aid they need, is in fact the responsibility of those who decided that the donations should be generated through a well strategized ad campaign. Finally he would argue that the perpetuated poverty of those individuals who now carry the additional burden of credit debt, lies on the shoulders of those organizations who structured the service. Like Hobbes, below is a chart illustrating what phase of the design process Kolko believe designers are responsible for.

KolkoScale-01

Kolko is right that the consequences of a product are the responsibility of the designer. Though the question then become, how do designers predict the outcome their products will have on the world? Especially if it’s changing the world in “ways you couldn’t image”?

Prediction is impossible, but how a designer reacts to the consequences of their product is changeable. Designers have a responsibility to not only the products the develop, but also to observe and counter the negative effects their products have on a community. Instead of viewing a designer’s responsibility as the repercussion of the product, the designer is also responsible for continuing to iterate and listen to the people it has affected. In the chart below this phase of continued responsibility is called “Continue”. There are two tools all designers should use to help themselves take on the responsibility of countering these unforeseen consequences: Ethnographic research and iteration.

ContinueScale-01

In order to counter the unpredictable side effects, a designer must first know what these effects are and how their design is perpetuating them. They can implement ethnographic research to do just that. This is a research method synonymous with just “listening to customers” (Hempel). The method involves in-person interviews executed at the place where the work is being done. The full effect of this method then allows for designers to gain a more empathetic understanding of the user’s needs when they go back to designing. For our slew of failed products, ethnographic research can be used to understand what happened with the product and where it fell short on serving the needs of the users. An excellent example of this is from the High Line, which has begun conducting interviews with members of the community, asking questions about how they can better serve them now.

The second tool a designer can use is iteration. This is the a process in which the repetition of a sequence of operations is taken to move towards the desired result. In design, this practice is highly emphasized. Not only is iteration encouraged in final products, but within every phase of design. To apply this concept to the failed products, we should see multiple version of the products each moving in a direction that would minimise the problems of the previous iteration.

Once designers implement ethnographic research and iteration on the negative consequences of their product, they can build better products. These designers are now equipped to find out how those most negatively impacted by the products feel and why and then design products that better address those issues. This additional step of continuing contact, feedback and iteration on a product is the real responsibility of the designers.

We cannot create things, let them manifest, then leave them behind. We have a responsibility to those who are left unsatisfied to find out what happens and figure out how to prevent that from happening to anyone else.