Summary of Project Concept Presentations

Participants in the Human-Centred Research and Design in Crisis course are taking a two-week break from July 15-30. This provides an opportunity to reflect on the concepts learned throughout the course, as well as prepare for Part 2 which will be more project-oriented. 

In wrapping up part 1, students posted their final project concepts, unveiling the design directions and putting together the assignments they have been working on over the previous 6 weeks. 

The final design directions are meant to build on the 3 previous assignments and to address the crisis context participants have been investigating. The design directions show concrete project proposals, including how students would conduct the research with stakeholders and participants, designing the concepts, services or technologies involved, addressing critical challenges for implementation and assessing the outcomes.

Participants were encouraged to follow their interests and work on a topic they would like to address, based on concepts examined throughout the course or a personal areas of interest. 

Martina reveals her entire course journey in this blog post. She decided to focus on her thesis and apply the concepts learned into her topic: Rethinking foreign aid in Finland (Miro board).

She is aware of the many intricacies of language and her main scope is to critically examine non-Western aid during crisis in Finland. The research questions addressed look into the type of aid received by the country, as well as source and reasoning behind it. She is curious to know the stakeholders involved and if there are traces of racism or colonial attitudes to be found within those. 

Martina Dahm’s board

Next, Pauliina, Tiina and Floris, a team of doctorate students studying in collaboration with the Swinburne University, Australia, focus on resilience in organizations (Miro board). We found out in this blog post that their goal is to develop a toolkit that can add components of resilience, critical reflection and value-driven decision-making to existing methods and tools for design practitioners, starting with the healthcare domain. The team wants to shift designers’ mindset: from driving participants to learn design tools in workshops while working on real issues, to innovating the healthcare facility by engaging design tools.

Following the phases of design thinking, they plan to benchmark existing interventions and methods/toolkits that encourage reflexive practice and purpose in the Discovery phase. Later on, they will combine the learnings from the secondary research with the interviews from a case study hospital to further Define the scope. From there follows building a prototype that can be tested in the hospital context. Since this project is highly explorative, the team invites questions and critiques from a variety of perspectives.

Pauliina , Tiina and Floris‘s Miro board

Another team, represented by Kiko and Divya, explores the topic of contact tracing in this blog post. Equipped with the design for good mindset, they expand the scope of contact tracing stakeholders to non-human entities, the results being a comprehensive and inclusive stakeholders map (see their Miro board). In addition, they formulate an ecologies map that dives deeper into values ecologies, constructed ecologies, ecologies of power and socio-cultural ecologies. 

Their plan is to tackle three goals by exploring the interrelationship between the human  context and non-human factors, existing CT methods and seeking the opportunities from the existing CT methods, through their reframed human-centered design approach.

Kiko and Divya’s Miro board

Maimuna proposes a research model that can tackle the Human Centric Tech Solutions. She talks about using speculative design approach to convey the results of the qualitative technological investigations into narrative form and diegetic outputs. Her approach is a collaborative one, that fosters the local economy; she believes that co-creation with local tech startups or local tech communities would increase democracy by giving the locals the right to participate in decisions that are likely to affect their work. This would also open doors to employment of beneficiaries into these organizations after an extensive training period.

Maimuna’s Stakeholder Map

From a technical standpoint, Ahmed Bin Shafat wants to fight social media misinformation using a multidimensional approach towards disaster and crisis management by using social media and artificial intelligence (see Miro board). He proposes the model of social listening, modern technique to exploit artificial intelligence to monitor conversation happening on social media and other online forums.

His classification proposal includes a descriptive analysis of social media, content analysis and social network analysis. 

Ahmed Bin Shafat’s Miro board

In her design direction, Özge talks about the COVID-19 case and the impact it had on education systems, meetings and vulnerable people. As an experiment, she began searching for hearing-disabled communities on Facebook to be able to closely observe what they have experienced during the current crisis. She quickly found how difficult it was to wear a face mask with a hearing aid. This inspired her to propose social media as an alternative for communication in the vulnerable communities, making people aware in this way about their daily challenges and struggles. 

Suvi takes advantage of her background in Visual Communication Design and talks about Ethically responsible information design for communicating of zoonoses. Zoonoses, as she made us aware of, are diseases transmissible from animals to human population through direct contact or through food, water, and the environment. Her methodology to pursue the topic is participatory action research as a way to involve the multiple stakeholders. 

This is just a sampling of participant contributions thus far and there will be other developments in their work going forward.

In this blog post, Triin reveals her passion for issues emerging in Voice for Urban Mobility, a project that seeks to provide secure personalized voice-enabled services for travelers and families to monitor their collective symptoms in Urban Well-being Diaries, while assessing ecological measures of physical, mental and urban well-being in their daily lives, both in Helsinki and Talinn. Having a comprehensive view from the complex mappings created (see Miro board), Triin discussed about all the challenges that will need to be considered when building the app, such as legislation, integration, stakeholders’ collaboration or language differences.

Triin’s Miro board

Without diverse representation, there is no empathy for diverse experiences. This is what Henriette stands for in her final concept, highlighting the drawbacks of voluntourism, such as exploitation of people and imbalance of power. She concludes that there is no perfect fix for this issue, but a conversation about it still needs to happen.

Henriette’s Miro board

Maryam tackles the social media, with all the good and the bad, in Social media impact on crisis management. She exposes a crucial aspects of the topic, represented by government accountability and unpacks how social media was useful for natural disasters and toxic for COVID-19 spread of misinformation. At the ends, she unveils the double wedged sword of social media, which can be stirred through a more positive outlook by educating and raising awareness through its channels.

Maryam’s Miro board

Next, participants will have time to reflect on their design directions and brainstorm methods to bring their concepts to a real life recommendation to the selected challenges. On July 31 the course sessions restart, with a program meant to promote participatory research, diversity and ethical discussions. We welcome new participants to enroll in the course and join the active community discussions. Participants can enroll here and by filling in this participation form and timeline form


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