To build on the projected scenarios, the next step in studio was to investigate projects that we would like and are able to accomplish. As usual, this exercise turned into a full wall of ideas and drawings. Although the wall looked chaotic at first glance, there was an intentional path and system to the content. A metaphor for my studies possibly.
So, I started from the systems thinking and service design research I have been studying. Briefly recapping my systems design lecture and how it connected to my thesis. I walked through my understanding of paradigms (described by Donella Meadows) as the underlying assumptions in society that can be challenged and altered.
Specifically, my thesis is looking at paradigms of health and community. My goal is to begin within the context of family and then transition professionally into the ways design and advertising facilitate or hinder holistic perceptions of health.
One line of assumptions I have is that community impacts a persons view of their own health and in turn impacts how they view stewarding their bodies and the environment.
I created a list to identify some paradigms of consumers and paradigms of corporate culture to examine their relationship.
After having a conversation with a colleague about how some cultures seamlessly integrate the experience of food and community, I came to this revelation:
Fragmenting aspects of health is detrimental to individuals and society.
I am identifying a paradigm that I feel may be unique to North America and am attempting to unpack the cause and the role of design. One observation is how we culturally segregate aspects of health that seem intertwined. This fragmentation might be the root of the issue and is something I hope to explore further.
Within this theme, I have two hypothesis:
1. Consumer culture, marketing and advertising contribute to the separation of thought about what constitutes health.
2. Corporations have an opportunity to systematically design services that lead to holistic wellness in consumers.
Reviewing my previous concepts for design solutions, I see that the family activity book and restaurant take-out container are still viable implementations of this thesis. From these two ideas, I am beginning to build a system of services that encourage learning and community exploration of wellness.
The family activity book will be enhanced by an online community where people can track activities, upload ideas to share and connect with other groups. Building on these tools will be a community store. This store will have an atmosphere similar to a community center but will sell tools and materials for the activities. As a product service system, the quality service will be emphasized through knowledgeable, helpful employees and workshop space to complete activities with assistance.
Implementing the store will be a localized, franchise model where each store would be tailored to the surrounding community. It would be a place that lives out the mission of the book and website featuring a garden, composting and kitchen facilities. The salable materials at the store would be a combination of business partnerships and custom brand materials.
The reusable take out container fits into this system as an opportunity for restaurant and community partnership. A practical implementation that builds on the learning at the center. This product emphasizes our relationship to waste and provides an opportunity for learning and growing.
To make this system a reality, I am using action research and user participation to develop family activities that are practical and educational. My plan is to start from the final vision and work backwards from the take out container and build the community systems from there.
Moving from the tangible products, it was suggested that I examine the viability of my ideas. I was encouraged to examine the stakeholders further and deeper establish the relationship between my current venture and professional aspirations. This helped me realize that although my goals are similar, what transitions is my audience and how I interact with them.
I developed three stages of my career in the next ten years. As a graduate student I am looking at the role of community in an individuals' health. As I move back into industry, my goal is to transition clients from the mentality of product offerings into services and experiences. Then I would like to move into a position where I strategically help clients align corporate action to facilitate health in their consumers. This will be no easy task but I feel it is attainable to design both socially responsibly and in a way that allows for shareholder satisfaction in the bottom line.
An important step in making any of this a reality is looking at the limitations and viability of pursuing the venture. I explored contradictory arguments, stakeholder relationships and the resources necessary to actualize these ideas.
Finally, I examined my qualifications to take on a project of this nature. I clearly see how my experience has lead me to this place. My background weaves together understanding of corporate agencies, marketing, working with non-profits with the process of developing my personal understanding of community and health. My career as a designer has lead me to a position to move into service design. I will build on the foundation of branding and communication design to craft experiences and services. This is an exciting moment.