At a school in Doetinchem there is a shortage of parking spaces. Which is quite troublesome for everyone involved, including surrounding neighborhoods. But how do you solve this shortage if you can’t build more parking spots? By looking at the eco system in which the problem occurs and mapping multiple cause and effect relations a different perspective presents itself.
Below is a summary of the project. The emphasis of this summary is on the work I’ve done with the employees of the school. Parallel to the design sessions a lot of research has been done in different area’s. If you want to know more about this don’t hesitate to contact me.
To create a new perspective on the problem its paramount that everybody gets on the same page. To do so the participants have been asked to write down post its about how they feel about the problem, what they see, smell, hear and experience. By developing a common ground everybody can move towards the same goal at the same pace.
For a better understanding on why everybody parks we explored our daily rythms. At what time do people come to the school? Why do they take the car? What happens before and after their work hours? It turned out that some have to take their kids to school first, need to do grocery shopping after or have a big distance to cover.
On a big printed out map of the school and surrounding area the parking space has been marked with little cardboard cars. The participants have been asked to replay their experiences when arriving at the school. While doing so they started to wonder where everybody came from. And why is everyone taking their own car? This takes up a lot of space! And there is a shortage of space.
Currently a lot of innovations are on their way in the field of mobility and transport. Such as Elon Musk’s Hyperloop and Google’s Smart Car. By mapping a dozen of these upcoming innovations on a timeline the participants were challenged to start thinking outside the box towards new and upcoming solutions.
Einstein once said: “You can’t solve a problem by applying the same level of thinking”. Meaning that sometimes you need to distance yourself from the problem to be able to see a proper solution. The participants have been asked to solve some one else’s problem, similair to their own, by applying the new and upcoming innovations.
By visualising their new solutions with little pieces of rope, post its and small cardboard actors they could map out how they travel around. By placing all the solutions over each other a lot of overlap was found. Innovations will make it easier to travel to and from the school, but there will be more than just one. When do you know which form of travel will be the best for your context? What is step zero?
The proces to determine the best travel option is similiar to using an application such as Airbnb. Using the an analysis of the Airbnb user journey as an inspiration source, the participants have been asked to create their own user journey for traveling together.
Divided into three teams each thought up of a new solution. An interactive physical column to post carpool calls, a giant group chat to support traveling together and a mobile application that gives advice based on weather information.
Once again a lot of overlap between the different artefacts. All of the overlap occured on parts where a user was trying to find out what kind of travel options would suit them best. Making the choice of transport coming at the end. This overlap has been dubbed ‘Step Zero’. Getting the correct image of the context and chosing a travel options with the best fit.
After three design sessions a lot of different travel solutions have been convieved. By doing a recap of all the solutions everybody got on the same page and realized once again that these solutions will be a matter of time before they are realized. The first solution that can be quickly adapted is traveling together. But what will that take?
The participants have been asked to team up in teams of 2 and to have a conversation. At the end of the conversation the participants have made agreements about how they could travel together, keeping it fun for the both of them. By doing this we quickly found out what it takes to carpool. From simple, rational, things such as knowing where some one lives, name, working hours etc. To the more emotional factors such as possible car smells, drinking behaviour and taste in music.
In the fifth and final design session all the information has been visualized and mapped out. Giving a clear image of what all the design sessions have given us and how it adds up and is used in the prototype.
By going through the prototype based on a scenario together with the participants we were able to discuss every design decision that has been made. Such as colours, font sizes and compositions. The end verdict by the participant group was fun to hear: “When can we start using it?”