The HCJFS Fatherhood Design Team met last Friday. The team of staff and community members is looking at ways the agency can better serve fathers.
The meeting began with a presentation that served as a refresher on what Design Thinking is, with an emphasis on the instincts, perspectives and approaches that make this process so effective. In the presentation, they were introduced to the design brief that would guide their work going forward: “How might we reinvent the JFS culture and customer service experience for fathers while ensuring safety and the efficient distribution of resources for all of the children and adults we serve.” The brief is to provide the designers with direction, inspiration and constraints. The team then wrapped up the Investigation/Empathy phase by hearing three final father interviews, populating the empathy maps, and adding that data to the existing set. With all of the data displayed on the wall, the team then turned to the process of synthesizing.
They were tasked with individually seeking out connections and patterns in the data, create sub-groupings, then identify the theme(s) that emerged from the groups they created. It was exciting to watch this activity play out. Team members were all over the room, thoughtfully moving pieces of data around, at first with very little communication amongst themselves, as 9-11 groups of data were displayed around the room. Then team members began moving around the room, engaging with other’s data groupings. Vibrant discussions and debates created new groupings of data as people merged their thinking and rationale with others. I asked the team to pause and present the deeper learnings – insights – that presented themselves through their efforts. After a brief period of further synthesizing, we stopped to capture insights from all members. It was inspiring to watch the team work and to witness how this phase works on the mind. At the close of the meeting, members expressed satisfaction with the process and discussed insights about themselves as to how this process impacted their thinking.