Empathizing through Role Play:
To fully understand our problem space and empathize with the targeted end user, the OI Team provided each group of 6 one persona. One team member was assigned to getting into the role of their persona and introducing herself to the team. In my group I was selected to role play Robin, the mom of two juggling various priorities including rent, job stability, and affording/finding quality childcare. The team had an opportunity to ask me as "Robin" questions about her life. This exercise was an excellent way in further empathizing and beginning to get into the headspace of how to design for our target persona.
Keeping our Robin hats on, the team went into rapid ideation mode, writing out as many How Might We design questions we could. We then selected our top HMW's, compiled them onto 6 pages, and sitting in a circle silently passed them around in our group, taking a 'yes and' attitude to build on the current ideas.
Worst Possible Idea:
This approach was new to me, but I found it a fascinating exercise to think about ideas on the complete other end of the spectrum, and take away the positive parts of it. Splitting off into twos within our groups, we came up with outlandish terrible ideas, identified attributes to keep from it, and then flipped them to build them into potential good ideas that could be worth elaborating on. What was valuable for me coming out of the exercise was a reminder that design thinking is about much more than technology based solutions, certain problem spaces benefit from moving away from technology.
Ideating solutions & Planning:
The afternoon was spent mapping out our solutions within our groups, and meeting with subject matter experts to better understand some of the complexities of early childhood development. With a full packed morning the afternoon was a bit of a slow down for our team we tried to build a solution that would not only address Robin's frustrations and challenges, but also be financially feasible for Polly Hill. Some of the initial solutions we came up with:
1. Adopt a grandma: A program where Polly Hill could connect Robin to able senior citizens, that would help provide extra help with the kids a few days a week.
2. Polly Hill Prescription: A government initiative that recognized Polly Hill's intergenerational care programs for the mental health benefits it provided to senior citizens. This would be officially accepted to be prescribed by doctors for seniors facing loneliness, depressions etc.
3. Social enterprise: Introduce a membership program that enables any senior living in the community to join Polly Hill programming (versus just being limited to seniors living in the retirement home). Membership revenue is used towards offsetting the cost of daycare for individuals like Robin.