Scout Labs <> GIFT
Project Lead - Scout Studio - Spring 2019
Design Strategists: Aarti Amalean, Will Lake, Katie Kim, Anahita Mojahed and Cat Zhang
Scout Labs is an interdisciplinary team of Northeastern students who believe in the power of design for social change. Through the human-centered design thinking process, our team collaborates with non-profit partner organizations in Boston to define a problem, understand the people affected by it, brainstorm solutions, prototype solution, and test with the users to make the prototype more effective.
This semester, Labs has the pleasure of working with GIFT (Gaining Independence for Tomorrow) an organization that provides intensive life coaching to victims of commercial sexual exploitation.
Role of alumni in GIFT
GIFT came to Scout Labs with the understanding that their organization is growing. As they grow, they are beginning to develop an alumni network. GIFT wants to know how they can create a consistent and welcoming place for GIFT alumni.
We began our discovery process by participating in the "Frame the Design Challenge" (IDEO). This challenge opened our minds to the problem we are trying to solve, our intended impact and possible problems we might find.
"Once a GIFT girl always a GIFT girl"
"We are extremely
Internal interviews were conducted with a goal of gaining more knowledge of the organization as well as empathy for the user's experience within GIF.T. We started this process by creating an internal interview guide to provide techniques for gathering information.
Detail: “When did that happen?”, “Who else was involved?”
Ask for more: “Can you tell me more about that experience?”, “Why did you / didn’t you enjoy it?”
Read back: repeat or rephrase something the person just said – “So, you said your job involves X and Y. Are there other elements too?” or “You said Z is how you see this problem in action…” and trail off to see if they add anything else
Stay silent: Silence is a good way to get more info! Especially silence + a nod
Neutral reaction: “Uh huh,” “I see,” any small reaction that keeps someone talking without actually changing or redirecting their thoughts
Clarification:“You said [x] about [y]. What do you mean by [x]?”
Strategies to Go Deeper and Ask Good Follow-Ups
Observe body language & facial cues as well as interview answers
Bad: “Do you think it’s a problem that GIFT rarely reaches out to alumni?
Okay: “In your experience, does GIFT do a good job at providing resources to alumni?”
Even better: “How have you communicated with GIFT alumni in your role? What things go well, and what things could use improvement?”
Stick to open-ended questions; avoid binary or leading questions
Understanding the User
Human-centered design is premised on empathy, on the idea that the people you’re designing for are your roadmap to innovative solutions. All you have to do is empathize, understand them, and bring them along with you in the design process. To understand GIFT and the individuals that it's comprised of, the team defined personas within GIFT.
To help the project move forward in a time-sensitive manner, I had team members implement important data into a template as interviews progressed. Once the interviews were complete, as a team, we took our notes to create unified personas.
*names have been removed for confidentiality
Think and Feel
Naomi listens to her girls stories, challenges, and questions. She also hears about the problems that are present within the GIFT organization.
Naomi meets with her girls 1-3 times a week to talk and go to appointments with them. She keeps up with her girls through social media and sees the rest of the GIFT team during weekly team meetings.
Naomi is empathetic and understanding towards her girls, and concerned for her girls' safety. She's confident in her life coaching towards the girls but may be feeling overwhelmed.
Say and Do
Naomi interacts with her girls to model a healthy relationship and advocates for her girls' safety. She communicates with the GIFT organization through Facebook and texting.
Melanie onboards new girls and life coaches. She organizes weekly events with the girls and hosts weekly meetings with the team. She communicates with the DCF and is 24 hour on call. All at the same time, she is trying to maintain the culture of GIFT.
Say and Do
Melanie is responsible and accountable for the entire program. But she's overwhelmed by the number of girls in the program and stressed by the turn over of employees. She's also scared for the future of the connections with GIFT.
Melanie has all of the personal information of the girls and sees the growth of many girls through GIFT. She sees the lack of community within GIFT.
Melanie hears the girls complaints and updates from coaches. She is also on call 24/7 365 days a year.
Think and Feel
Yes! This project is occurring right now!
Currently, we are refining our user journeys as well as beginning our ideation process. Here is a sneak peek.