Facilitating Creative Changemakers

Moving through week 4 of the quarter, the app design concept is starting to come together. I look back to my problem statement to make sure I'm addressing it, and I hope I am as I prepare for my midterm presentation. A few highlights as a reminder:

  • Millennials hold power in the sustainability movement as young professionals entering the workforce, but aren't always informed.
  • Information available on social media is overwhelmingly complex—in both size and scale—leaving doubt as to translation or application to anyone’s everyday life. 
  • The lack of relevant context and tools to enable change prevents sustainability information from diffusing on a large scale into millennials’ lifestyles and work.
  • The sustainability movement will thrive when this age group becomes more conscious in adopting sustainable living habits, and more importantly,  understands the reasons why these habits are important to local and global futures.

I want to create context and enable challenge, competition, sharing, and an exchange of public value to meet the needs of my problem statement. Crowdfunding has become so popular in the last few years, and even though I am not encouraging monetary effort, it is a great example of public collaboration. There are personal, local, and global needs, and there are so many individuals and organizations who would love to contribute creativity to these challenges. I want to facilitate this creativity and enable people to create large scale change. 

I admire the efforts of GOOD and Sambazon who are trying to facilitate similar efforts, but I think the triggers they are posing fall into a space on Fogg's behavior change model that displays low motivation and hard to do. How can I use the provided scaled context to up the motivation, and make the challenge open enough to make it as easy or hard as an individual wants it to be?

The model I'm working on right now provides a framework for core values, that will feed into the challenges provided by B-Corps or Non-profits, that would submit a challenge and context to help them further achieve their missions. By empowering them, and providing a space for individuals, businesses, and organizations to respond, and be empowered by those responses, it really is a public exchange of value. Non-profits and B-Corps can move towards their long-term goals, while individuals, businesses, and organizations can share the good they are doing to benefit  themselves , their  communities and society , the  planet .   The framework is still in development, but the skeleton of my brainstorming looks like this:

The model I'm working on right now provides a framework for core values, that will feed into the challenges provided by B-Corps or Non-profits, that would submit a challenge and context to help them further achieve their missions. By empowering them, and providing a space for individuals, businesses, and organizations to respond, and be empowered by those responses, it really is a public exchange of value. Non-profits and B-Corps can move towards their long-term goals, while individuals, businesses, and organizations can share the good they are doing to benefit themselves, their communities and society, the planet

The framework is still in development, but the skeleton of my brainstorming looks like this:

framework

Looking forward to midterm and further development; all feedback is appreciated! Thanks for reading :)

Mindful Millennials

Week 2 of the quarter is underway. Today, I presented my final scoping and initial research planning for my work in progress, ‘Mindful Millennials.’ 

 

The goals of the project are to diffuse education through the millennial age group about sustainability, create community connection, and encourage lifestyle improvements to live more sustainably. My theory for the project is if you provide meaningful context, and the tools for change, then each individual will apply this information to their lives as they see fit.

The key though, in my eyes, is the meaningful part. 

We are bombarded every day with incredible amounts of information. Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, newsletters, emails... it’s constant. So what makes information stick? What do Millennials want to know about sustainability and the world around them? How can we reconnect people to nature, and harness the power of social media and technology to do so? It may seem like an oxymoron, connecting people to nature with technology, but I believe with tailored, specific messages, and tools for local connection, this can be achieved.

With a lot of strategy, and a little luck, I’m hoping an app can serve as three leverage points based on Donella Meadows' Thinking in Systems book. She points out that information flows can wreak havoc on the functionality of a system. Without the right information to the right people, systems will fail. I want to create smooth information flows about sustainability topics that are important to people. Additionally, she says self-organization is a powerful leverage point and tool for change. Social media seems like it could serve as this perfect platform for this kind of leverage. Finally, even though it has less impact than other points, she believes numbers are a place to start when it comes to change. Numbers, meaning every little person doing something good, leads to change over time. Every time someone uses a reusable bag versus a plastic one, that’s a number, and it does have an effect, even if it’s minor. I’m hoping that with context and tools, comes lifestyle changes, even if they’re just little numbers.

Moving forward with this framing, I’m starting to dive into contextual research about content strategy, user experience design, desired sustainable lifestyle changes, and social innovation. I’m excited to move forward, and hopefully come out with worthwhile design to connect millennials to sustainability and their communities. Any feedback or connections to resources would be greatly appreciated. 

 

We all have impact, negative and positive. How can I use this design to facilitate more of the positive?

Your deepest roots are in nature.  No matter who you are, where you live, or what kind of life you lead, you remain irrevocably linked with the rest of creation. 
— Charles Cook

thumbnail image source: FastCompany