Design for social change
I attended graduate school at the Austin Center for Design. We spent much of the year using design to understand and address homelessness. We collaborated with organization leaders, case managers, job placement agencies and many individuals currently experiencing homelessness. We went through a process of research, design synthesis, prototyping and testing. My understanding and perceptions surrounding the issue and the power of design were transformed throughout the process. I found that sharing and including individuals in the process increased their understanding of what design is and empowered them to create change on their own in new ways.
Shown here are excerpts from the research finding booklet we made for Austin Resource Center (ARCH). The research booklet was well received at ARCH. It transformed the way much of the staff viewed design and the way they approach their work. As a result, ARCH adjusted their intake process and the way they interact with their board. The organization continues to adapt their services to help their clients and continues to work with some of the students on initiatives.
Additionally, I created One Up an experiment/prototype to test an online learning platform for youth experiencing homelessness. I incorporated gaming principles and scaffolding learning concepts to help the youth build confidence. LifeWorks was my partner organization for the project and realized the value of technology and design in a new way. They have gone on to build new learning platforms with partners for the youth and use some of the documents we created to help youth accomplish their goals.