Beyond the Screen: Quick ’n’ Dirty Proposals for Product Ecosystems

Proposal 1: Food, Sustainability, and Community

How might communities be made stronger and more connected through shared sustainable food practices? How could community-supported agriculture, local food movements, and urban farming become more of a social experience?

What this might ultimately be is a design for a specific initiative that already exists. For example, CSA programs, co-ops, and community gardens/farming exist. For CSAs especially, they tend to be, first, very seasonal, and second, individual. You buy your share, and you pick it up, barely interacting with other humans. What if buying a share was more like paying for a membership to a club? And the club supported all of your food practices and helped you become more informed through social interaction? How could this make you a better consumer of food in the long run and not just when reliant on the

Stakeholders would be CSAs (or whatever other local food initiative is chosen). The only problem I foresee here would be that I don’t know any of these people personally already. But I know that they are quite readily accessible in this area and that they are probably only a couple of degrees of separation away from me.

The possible components of this sort of project are many. They could be a digital platform, events and events materials, and more. But this would have to come out of research to understand problems with obtaining and retaining CSA buyers and also the scope by which a CSA alone is able to alter a person’s food purchase practices.

Proposal 2: The Pre and Postnatal Experience

How can expectant mothers be empowered to make informed decisions regarding their prenatal care, creating a plan that suits them and is not a one-size-fits-all prescriptive solution? Alternatively, how might design help new mothers deal with all the life changes that continue to happen postnatally? How can these new experiences be made to feel less isolating?

Research for this kind of project might begin broadly and with new and expectant mothers to understand their pain points throughout the process (I am connected to many women who have recently or are about to have babies). It would also be critical to reach out to health professionals in the field. My best friend is a mother-baby/L&D/nursery nurse so I’d probably begin with her to see what kinds of difficulties she’s noticed, what sort of opportunities she sees for improvement in the pre- and post-delivery experience, and also use her knowledge to help me understand the stakeholders better.

I think this sort of project would benefit from taking all of this broad understanding and narrowing down to a specific set of moments or a singular experience when it comes to expectant and new motherhood that could be improved. The risk would be to attempt to do something too large that doesn’t really end up doing anything at all.

Anticipated ecosystem components will likely be some kind of digital tool or platform with some accompanying physical/print materials, but I find it difficult to know exactly what the components would be without doing the research to understand the problems first and narrowing down to a concise story of the problem. What I would like, ultimately, is to create an intervention that occurs at home and is not any kind of change to what occurs at the hospital, as I think that would be out of scope for a project that will only last the rest of this semester.

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