chaos to community

Synthesis and data sorting can often look like chaos to those not involved. Walls of post-it notes, lots of sharpie drawings, maps or models on brown paper, and pictures. But this wall for all of us involved in the design community represents a treasure chest. We spend hours sorting through our data, adding to the wall and reviewing what others have added. Each point on the wall represents a new opportunity or insight to someone in our community. The wall becomes a safe place for us to share far-fetched ideas, insights, and stories we have encountered. Our understanding and shared knowledge around the project transforms this wall of “chaos” into a project and community wall. The various drawings, pictures and post-its have helped all of us discover new opportunities and use different perspectives to gain understanding of another community.

It has come up for many of us that at first glance all we could see is chaos—people hanging out, locations for services, schedules, bags, and noise. But as we listen to the stories of the individuals involved in services both staff and clients we begin to understand their system. We begin to understand more about their community with every story we hear, share and observe. We learn what some of their tattoos mean, what is important to them and why they carry it, what the various services around town offer and mean to them as well as the stories they share through marks on their clothing and bags.

How do we build on the community that exists?What is shared within the community?What creates a sense of trust and safety within the community?Is there an equivalent to our wall for their community?

This is just the beginning and there is much more, so check back as we continue to try to make sense of what others may view as chaos…