This week we started our design thinking workshop at Di Institute for Social Leadership. Our goal with the workshop is to gather a better understanding of the community we work with, and to develop a relevant program.
We aimed at having a group of 5 people, and so far we have a team of four with two super active people.
So Tuesday we started with a rapid immersion program following D.Labs’ “gift-giving experience”. It was a good initial program but we found it went a bit too fast, and was too vague for some participants. But some cool prototypes came out of it and all participants seemed to enjoy the process.
On Thursday Morning we had our first mapping round, during which we had a tour from Uche and Shennare that showed us some of the assets of Allman Town. We asked them to show us places they liked and used in the area, things and places they’d like to change, and safe and unsafe areas.
During this round we took a lot of pictures especially of small businesses, small urban farms, hangout spots, a variety of fruit trees, and empty lots around the area. When we got back, Errol and Andre also joined us. Errol talked to us about his vision for a food processing plant in the area, where jobs could be offered to local unemployed young people.
On Friday we took a closer look and interviewed people we met walking around with the same questions we mapped on Thursday. We asked them to show us places they liked and used in the area, things and places they’d like to change, and which areas they considered safe and unsafe.
What we found was a lot of hope, and a need and desire for infrastructure and public service improvement. Many people mentioned the lack of education as the main contributor to unemployment, violence, and poverty. Most valued were the sense of community embodied by friends’ regular hangout spots and the public space provided by the nearby Heroes Park.
People really appreciated us taking the time to come into Allman Town and reaching out to people to have a conversation about these things. And at various times I saw such love and passion in people’s words that I really wanted to film them speaking so the positive energy might be shared, or go viral :)