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Youth Employment Challenge Community Ambassador Update #5

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Shane Zhao is our current volunteer Challenge Community Ambassador. You'll see him popping up across the Youth Employment Challenge with handy tips and words of encouragement – and posting community updates here like a true champion!

Let us give applause to our contributors who have entered into the Refinement phase of the Youth Employment Challenge! Through the strength of ongoing collaborations on the platform, these 22 shortlisted ideas have synthesized many of the issues that our community have found to be relevant since the beginning of the Research phase. For this post, I've decided to feature how some of our contributors have been pushing their concepts forward with the creation of new prototypes.

Prototyping and Live Feedback Sessions from Alex Mokori, Leigh Cullen, and Gavin Cosgrave

Insights on Prototyping
In a recent live Office Hour session, IDEO's CEO Tim Brown sat down with our challenge manager Luisa Covaria and several of our contributors  to provide personalized feedback on the progression of their ideas. In addition to providing individualized design support to Chris Pozzi, Gavin Cosgrave, and Aditya Sudhakar, the fireside chat was also a unique opportunity for us to hear some of Tim Brown's personal insights on the prototyping process. In many ways, the conversations from the Office Hour was rich with valuable lessons for any social innovator who is in the process of bringing his/her ideas closer to Impact. I've highlighted some of the food for thought from the session to share with the community below. These insights, along with many more, can be viewed in the live recording here.
  • "A prototype is an experiment to test out a hypothesis. It's like a science experiment. Figure out what are the key questions that you want to answer first."
  • "Prototypes are important because they get you answers and feedback much faster than if you were just using words to describe what your idea is trying to do. With any innovation project, it's a constant process of learning and converting that learning into something that is real and tangible."
  • "Customers' tastes and aspirations are very different than the ones of people that run the operation. Learn from your future customers. Work creatively together with them to understand who they are and what their needs are."
  • "In designing services, a quick way to prototype the idea is to act it out together with some friends through role play. Write a script and literally act out how the service would work. Maybe even film it with your iphone and show it to other people for feedback."
  • "What happens after you make a prototype and gain feedback? You make another one, and then another one! It's all about how you can learn as fast as possible."

Ideators at Work
Off the platform this week, I've also engaged with several of our fantastic contributor to see how they might bring their ideas to life with the development of new User Experience Maps. These storyboards are effective ways of breaking down a concept into smaller steps in order to visualize what the end-to-end experience might feel like for specific users over time. In addition to engaging stakeholders through storytelling, these user journeys are powerful prototyping tools for creating rapid feedback loops. As we have learned from the Office Hour with Tim Brown, it's all about how we can learn as much and as fast as possible!

User Experience Map: Interviews for Humans...not robots - Sarah Owusu ( right click for larger view)

  • What I discovered, Sarah: The value of mapping the user experience is definitely forcing yourself into the users shoes. I had to take into account the motivations of my user (how much time do they realistically have, how likely are they to use the platform…) and their environment (where will they be and what will be around them). Understanding their priorities will be important as I continue to refine and it forces me to filter out the things that are superfluous. 

User Experience Map: Chama Beta - Wambui Kabue ( right click for larger view)

  • What I discovered, Wambui: I discovered that there are a lot of different scenarios that I should address and I need to clarify what other ways people can learn about Chama Beta aside from word of mouth. I also discovered that Chama Beta could be formed solely for free learning much in the same way that MOOC's offer their products.

User Experience Map: The Bridge Project - Jean-Marc Mercy ( right click for larger view)

  • What I discovered, Jean-Marc: Doing this exercice helped me to 'come down on earth' and have a clear picture of what can be realistically done to translate the idea into actions.

As we move closer towards Impact, it is important for us to continue our work together in order to collaboratively strengthen our community's ideas. A significant part of the Refinement phase is about how might we provide more focused feedback to help our contributors refine their concepts further. So let's all jump on board and finish this inspiring journey together. And let's also bring these amazing prototypes to real potential users in our communities to see what insights they might have to give!
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Community Champions , Youth Employment Challenge 2


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