Co-Creation Session One
Working with a non-profit can be quite rewarding. However, it can also lead to unexpected complications. For example: quickly adapting an in-person meeting into a videoconferencing session.
As a team, we have been working with a nonprofit called UrbanSTEM for the past few weeks. UrbanSTEM is a Savannah local nonprofit which provides workshops for kids in public and private schools that teach them the basics of STEM. For example, technology workshops where kids get to play with products like littleBits (mini-circuit-building tools), etc.
However, this co-creation session would be our first time directly engaging with Eric Sharpe, co-founder of UrbanSTEM. It was our goal to work with Eric to help understand the things about UrbanSTEM which we didn’t already know.
So, first, let’s explore what we already knew:
What We Knew
First, we went to a quick session to meet Patrick Bentley, the other co-founder of UrbanSTEM. Speaking with him helped us to create an initial stakeholder map, identifying the people who contribute to running UrbanSTEM — and how they’re involved.
This map represents all of the people which contribute to keeping UrbanSTEM up and running.
UrbanSTEM caters to 30–40 kids per month, with 2.5 hour workshops at various schools. At the moment, they have only worked with two distinct schools, but hope to expand throughout Savannah.
STEM — Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics are very popular within education at the moment. However, schools and teachers alike don’t have the time or proper resources to teach kids everything needed to spark their interest in STEM subjects. So, there is a huge need within the Savannah market especially for STEM education workshops and programs.
What We Learned
Simply put, we learned that UrbanSTEM is a growing non-profit with a problem. They’re growing too fast, and can’t keep up. Their process for connecting with schools, children, and volunteers is quite scattered and disorganized. In fact, one might argue that they don’t yet have a fully defined process for anything. It’s good for them, though, because it means that UrbanSTEM is still flexible enough to be capable of pivoting to fill whatever market they need to. As a team, we are going to continue our field research and gain a strong understanding of the problem space. After which, let the ideation begin!