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Mod. 8 & 9 Exercise - Visioning Part 2 - (Design by Nature, Blank Spots, Articulating the Concept)

Updated: Jun 30, 2023

DESIGN BY NATURE

OBJECTIVE: APPLY DESIGN PRINCIPLES FROM NATURE TO TRIGGER FRESH IDEAS AND ITERATE ON EXISTING IDEAS (BIOMIMICRY).


 

Consider all 20 of Life’s Principles (see below above) and select one to apply to your Creative Question.


My Creative Question for “You're Welcome Here!” is: “How might we create welcoming spaces for refugee children in America, given that they *presumably* don't speak much English?”


For this question, the Life Principle “Replicate Strategies that Work” applies most accurately to how I’ve been approaching answering my CQ. I want to research how other immigrant groups and the nations that receive them have tackled this question to see if I can apply learnings from their failures and successes to aid the children of Afghani refugees resettling in Baltimore.


Think of a good example where you see the selected principle manifested in nature. Use the internet to study the example (e.g. AskNature.org).


Replicating Strategies that Work can be found in nature in the lives of mongooses who learn lifelong survival skills from their mentors and peers, rather than inheriting the traits from their parents. In the same way, I want to apply the learnings of my peers in other countries and from other immigrant groups who have encountered the same challenge of creating welcoming environments for their children in their new home.


Translate the key elements from the selected principle (and its best example) to your CQ.


In this situation I am like a young mongoose looking for guidance from my peers on how to address the challenge of creating welcoming spaces for immigrant children. In this way, cultural inheritance, the transmission of socially learned information across generations, is the influence on my human behavior: we behave the way we do not just because of our genes but also because of what we learn from parents, teachers and cultural role models. This also speaks to my motivation for taking on this project, which stems from my own upbringing and experience of many immigrant family member’s resettle into American life.


Ask yourself how Nature’s strategies would help solve your CQ and capture ideas inspired by this line of thinking?


By drawing from the learnings of other groups and individuals who have helped immigrant children resettle into American life, I can apply the Life Principle of cultural inheritance as demonstrated by mongooses in nature, to my Central Question of creating Welcoming Spaces for the children of Afghani immigrants resettling in Baltimore.

 

BLANK SPOTS


OBJECTIVE: PROBE FOR OVERLOOKED OPPORTUNITIES WITHIN THE SOLUTION SPACE.

Start from the idea or collection of ideas developed so far.


Many ideas were generated around how to create more welcoming spaces for the children of immigrant refugees in Baltimore including adding more translators, providing individual counseling opportunities with a native speaker of their language, and creating a “Welcome Week” at the school where the students could share part of their native culture with their new classmates.


Articulate on which two dimensions most ideas can be mapped, stretch the dimensions out in both directions.


Looking at which two dimensions most ideas can be mapped and stretched, one dimension that was identified were the venues where the children spend their time outside of the home i.e. School vs. Dedicated after-school learning center; and the other dimension that was identified were the supervisors or teachers in charge of the children in these venues i.e. Teachers vs. Parents vs. After-School Program Leaders.


Plot existing ideas onto the dimensions to surface blank spots, i.e. ideas that have been missing so far.


By plotting existing ideas on to the dimensions we surfaced some blank spots that had been missing from our ideation to date. It turns out that no one had connected representatives from the main venues where the children of immigrant refugees spend the majority of their time outside of the home. Their school teachers were completely unaware of what their after-school program teachers were having the children work on, and therefore had created conflicting experiences for them. By creating a line of communication between the two supervisor groups, both were able to build upon what the other was doing to the benefit of the children.


Capture all the ideas and include them in your concept in preparation for the next step which will be to articulate your concept coherently and precisely.


Refugees experience so many difficulties as they adjust and try to resettle into a new life in a new country. This experience is made that much more difficult if they have young children. While parents are given primary focus by dedicated resettlement resource providers, their children are often unaccounted for. By hiring a staffer whose job is focused exclusively on the lives of these children, we were able to identify which experiences outside of the home were creating confusion for them that in turn created additional stress for their parents. Connecting their in-school teachers to their after-school teachers the two groups were able to align their lessons to be complementary and build upon one another, rather than compete with each other, and both groups were able to share what the children were learning with their parents.

 

ARTICULATING THE CONCEPT


OBJECTIVE: EXPLAIN YOUR CONCEPT COHERENTLY AND PRECISELY USING THE WHY / WHAT / HOW FRAMEWORK.


WHY:

The relevance? - America is accepting more immigrant refugees into the United States than ever before. All of these people have been displaced for various reasons and must now restart their lives.


The appeal? - “You’re Welcome Here!” exists to raise awareness about these groups in order to minimize xenophobia and provide additional resources to existing refugee resettlement networks.


The problem it solves? - Combatting and mitigating xenophobia and shaping new American identities.


The insight/user need that it leverages? - “You’re Welcome Here!” leverages the power of storytelling and shared experiences to combat the rising rates of various forms of xenophobia against minorities.


WHAT:

The essence? - An advocacy and resource agency for immigrant refugees in America.


The alluring vision? - To create a pipeline for the creation of American identity for immigrant refugees resettling in various American cities.


The novel concept? - Leveraging the power of storytelling and shared experience to create positive community relations among new neighbors with different backgrounds.


The key benefits offered? - Opportunities for immigrant refugees and established local Americans to meet and learn more about one another through shared experiences.


HOW:

The compelling and concrete ideas to make this concept come alive? - Most xenophobia is rooted in fear of the unknown, assumptions of another group’s motives, and a blanket perception based in stereotypes. You’re Welcome Here! Addresses all of those issues by creating live experiences that illustrate the parallels between immigrant refugees and established local communities.


The delivery mechanism? - An advocacy and resource agency staffed by veterans in the field of immigration, community advocates and leaders, and event organizers.


FINAL CONCEPT ARTICULATION:

“You’re Welcome Here!” is an advocacy and resource agency dedicated to raising awareness of, and creating welcoming spaces for, the growing number of immigrant refugees resettling in America. By leveraging the expertise of leaders in the field of immigration with the power of shared experience and storytelling, “You’re Welcome Here!” combats xenophobic violence and supports our new refugee neighbors to establish American identities by producing events for them to meet local community members and learn more about one another through shared experiences that illustrate the parallels of their respective lives.

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