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  • benjaminnewman01

Mod. 5 Reflection - Applying Sensing to the SBMC

Updated: Jul 28, 2023

Passion and Purpose— Based on your Ikigai and SBMC identify your connection with, and cement your dedication to your social problem as it is perceived today? How will sensing help you fine-tune and gain a better sense of unexpected elements you might face while working on your social challenge?


Context for Sensing - Ikigai + SBMC

My core within my ikigai is a “Cultural Ambassador” that combines the elements of Hosting, Caring, Healing and “Attaché” which applies my skills and professional experience into a formal role. These intersections directly correspond to the goals of, and inspired me to build out, You’re Welcome Here! within my SBMC. The beneficiaries of You’re Welcome Here! are new immigrants and refugees resettling in Baltimore. Using slightly different language to apply the framework of Sensing, I will refer to my “beneficiaries” as “users” for this reflection.

As a reminder, the mission of You’re Welcome Here! is to support the integration of new immigrants and refugees resettling in Baltimore into American life by creating “Welcome Events” for new immigrants and refugees to get to know Baltimoreans and build relationships.


My inspiration to support immigrants and refugees is rooted in my own family experience. My father and his mother were both immigrants, in addition to many immediate family members on both sides of my family. Drawing from their experiences and stories they have shared with me, I have a sense of where to begin a wide exploration on where immigrants and refugees go during the early stages of their resettlement.


I saw family members on both sides integrate into public gathering places for people like them. For my Armenian family this was the Apostolic Church and for my Jewish family it was the Shuel. I’d like to find and make in-roads in the spaces where immigrants gather socially in Baltimore to better understand how they show up in those spaces, and how the spaces support them.

Weak Signals

1. Understanding the role social media content has played in framing user’s perceptions of American life.

2. What qualities of life users personally value and if those exist or not in American society.

3. An understanding of how political, social and religious values contribute to their resettlement.

4. What cultural ties might exist to build bridges between users and Baltimoreans.

For example, when I studied abroad in France, I met a number of Libyans who were also at my school learning French. They didn’t know how to perceive me as an American until I mentioned that I had seen Amr Diab perform in Detroit. As soon as I shared familiarity with a beloved pop star, they immediately welcomed me. I would like to see if the same is possible between new immigrants, refugees and Baltimoreans.


The practice of sensing requires understanding the motivation and priorities of my stakeholders, customers, and users. For my customers, researching nonprofit and government resettlement groups will help me better understand them by learning their practices and where their pain points are. This will help me see where they are struggling to meet the needs of the users, which will allow me to ask my users more specific questions about their perception of my customers.

User Needs

My effort to make in-roads in spaces where Afghani immigrants gather socially in Baltimore to learn how they show up in those spaces and how the space supports them will be completely derided if there is an insufficient number of translators. Since I do not speak Pashto or Dari, I will need translators in both languages to support in-person conversations and communications that are sent to non-English speakers. Similarly, identifying preconceptions or prejudices about American Afghanis will also play a role in the translator's ability to effectively communicate with the groups.

Synthesizing The Dots

Investing time with refugees, translators and staffers within my customer block will allow me to identify the treasures and triggers that will play an important role in developing an action plan that applies the knowledge and nuance of the various parties in order to reframe the initial proposal and create an effective ecosystem for You’re Welcome Here!


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