Design Strategy & Creative Direction
Ui Ux, Wireframing, User Scenarios/Personas, Journeys/Flow, Adapted Ethnography
Ashoka Changemakers, Everyone a Changemaker, Washington DC
Q. How do networks activate? How do movements move ? How to humans organize?
Adapted Design Ethnography, User Research & Design Strategy
On modelling social change and a team’s abstract mission
Changemakers, as a sub-team of Ashoka, primarily partnered with clients like Lego Foundation, NYC Mayor’s office, AmEx etc. to help source, map & fund the most innovative work in specific fields (Play, Youth Community Work, Health). Ashoka’s broader mission is to enable a world where everyone feels they can make change, which meant that our team was perpetually questioning how to activate the work of the entire field in each competition, not just the finalists. Our team became focused on activating the innovative potential of each entrant, thought leader, competition judge and partner. Throughout the competition process, we would become experts in mapping the what, who, and how of each issue. How could we harness this knowledge and access ?
Additionally, in social justice and social change organizing, there is the understanding that real change and movements happen out of control. Strategy, planning and activation tools are important, but what catalyses change at scale is unforeseeable.
Modelling our mission as part of our design thinking process took the shape of 2d models, 3d lego structures, white boards wall drawing, complex geometric diagrams, but none of them were particularly helpful in understanding how organic human social change takes form until New Years Eve and the flash of sparklers. Organic, spastic, but with direction … and in this I found my best model of what our team was attempting to do as a dynamic model for network activation. This helped to illustrate the need to create fodder and fuel for the movements, while getting out of the way. This is the key to Ashoka’s success throughout the 80s-90s as social entrepreneurship exploded globally through Ashoka fellowships which provided 3 years of unrestricted funding to each countries’ leading innovators. While this may seem like a simple lesson (to get out of the way of innovators) in the development process of changemakers.com, a million dollar site initially built to act as a LinkedIn/social network for social change projects had become incredibly clunky and a horrible user experience. My job was to reorient the site’s priorities based on a more nuanced understanding of what we could tactfully provide our social entrepreneurs. Studying the acitve kineticism of the sparkler helped act as a reminder to tune in to what innovators actually need so explosions of network activation could actually take place at scale. Practically, this helped focus our “nice to have features” from the features that were core to providing real fodder. Because as we learn from the sparkler as model, activation / synapses / sparks have a base that acts as ignition, but really successful organic growth is almost unperceetable, untraceable and hopefully wildly kinetic. Lesson: focus on the fodder. This connected to the research I did (above) around what social entrepreneurs actually need to activate and amplify their work.
Ashoka Changemaker’s Mission: Network Activation / Catalysing Organic Network Growth
DESIGN PROCESSES / WIREFRAMING / USER FLOW MAPPING / DESIGN THINKING
UiUx + Look & Feel
Creating a space to showcase Ashoka Changemaker’s Innovation Mapping, detailed reports based on interviews with Ashoka fellows, who are pioneering specific industries or issue areas, to map out what is going on in the field, who are key stakeholders in the field, what are the barriers, what are the current solutions, and where is there opportunity to target innovation.
The Nav : Because of the limited number of social innovation mapping reports, we created an in-page nav for a more inviting way to flip through/scroll down to the reports.
Tone is in the Details: Focusing on the small touches of the site, such as cascading Trophy icons to bullet the Semi-Finalist lists. A mechanism to freshen up the simple list display and add a little character.