The last week of Q3 approaches, but we (Adam, Mary Hannah, and Mariangela) continue to validate our service idea: KeyUp, a digital solution that aims to connect young adults to training programs and supporting services, with the mission to have them attain a well-paid, mid-skill level career, improve their quality of life, and subsequently, increase their level of civic participation.
While conducting experiments, we finished putting together our website (check it out! https://www.keyup.org/) which we have shown to a couple of young adults from whom we gathered and implemented feedback. We’ve also been spending some time on building our online presence on Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/keyupaustin/) and Facebook (coming soon).
This week, these were the hypotheses we tested in order to de-risk the development of our service:
- If we manage to get 30 young adults interested in our product, we will get 5 people to participate in co-creating paper prototypes for our digital solution.
- If we pitch our service idea to 4 stakeholders working in community outreach and also those that specialize in connecting individuals to job opportunities, they will agree to support us in our endeavor.
- If we create social media accounts on Facebook and Instagram, we will be able to attract attention from key target audiences.
Experiment 1: Testing platform UI
The digital piece of our solution will be the main point of interaction between young adults and our service, so we wanted to make sure that the interface efficiently communicated information that is of relevance to them. In order to do this we created a paper prototype that we intended to use in a co-creation activity with young adults.
We will get the contact information of 30 young adults, of whom five people will be willing to attend a participatory activity.
We only managed to get 3 individuals to agree to do a participatory research activity.
Reaching out to young adults that will actually follow up with us continues to be a challenge.
Experiment 2: Creating partnership with stakeholders
By speaking to an array of stakeholders, experts in the areas of continuing education and supporting services, we hoped to confirm that they supported and would use an app that would connect young adults with training programs and services to get them into middle skills jobs.
We talked to four stakeholders hoping that we could detect opportunity areas to partner with them.
The services that we’ve reached out to have been extremely responsive and have started introducing us to other interested parties. We have now had meetings or scheduled meeting with almost every stakeholder that we identified or that another stakeholder has recommended we look into, indicating that we are approaching a comprehensive understanding of the actors in the youth workforce space. Our conclusion as a result of these interviews is that despite their active efforts to coordinate with each other, many of these communities and programs are working in silos. No one we spoke with had a list of all training programs and services available in Austin for people trying to reach middle-skill jobs, and few would even hazard guesses. Therefore, KeyUp would be filling a gap in the efforts of current stakeholders.
UI paper prototyping
This week we focused on the researching and refining content for our digital solution.
In order to prove validation of our solution, we need to be sure that the information that we’re providing actually is valuable to the young adults we’re trying to connect to programs and services that will guide them through a sea of educational options.
After having put together a first paper UI kit in order to test it, we realized that we were dealing with an extensive amount of data about existing training programs, careers, and supporting services. The challenge lies in the fact that we can’t just google training programs and make a list of our findings; we need to actually do the due diligence of scrubbing data and provide information about programs that are legitimate and have a good reputation.
Pivot: We decided to choose three industries that we would like to be “subject matter experts” about so that we’ll be able to provide the best information out there for prospective users. These areas are: health care, tech, and skilled trade jobs, all industries identified as well-paying and high growth in Austin.
After the research we conducted, we realized that there are at least four types of users that could interact with our service. We decided to focus on the user that is in an “exploratory” phase while searching for jobs and that suddenly stumbles upon “KeyUp” through Google or social media. The reason why we decided to choose this user is because they will be following the full KeyUp journey from beginning to end.
We will continue working on defining what our service consists of by iterating on our service blueprint as we keep on conducting interviews with stakeholders and potential end users. We’ll use our service blueprint to prompt conversation about our service in order to receive feedback and refine our solution.