Since 2011, UX for Good has pushed designers to solve problems they have never taken on before. This year, we have been invited to Rwanda to help figure out how to translate the feelings evoked by genocide memorials into meaningful action by those who experience them. We are humbled and honored by being asked to participate in this work.
Who We Are
UX for Good is the first event that pits user-experience (UX) designers against complex social problems. The centerpiece of UX for Good is the Annual Challenge, in which we pair twelve of the world's greatest UX designers with a leading nonprofit organization to create unprecedented impact.
What We're Doing
For this year's Annual Challenge, we'll be working with Aegis Trust, which established the Kigali Genocide Memorial on behalf of the Rwandan people in 2004. More than a museum or shrine, the memorial serves as the final resting place for 250,000 victims of the 1994 genocide.
Like genocide memorials around the world, this site produces powerful feelings in all who visit it. UX designers have a unique capacity to understand the steps that take place between emotion and action. In Kigali, we'll ask them to apply that skill set on behalf of all humankind.
As part of the Annual Challenge, UX designers from across the globe will visit Kigali for several days of exploration, research and debate. Then the team will reconvene in London, where they'll design an original way to translate the feelings evoked by genocide memorials into sustainable action. Finally, they'll share their findings to leaders from Aegis and other advocates for human dignity.
But the ideas from this Annual Challenge are too important to be confined to a single room. So we've started this Kickstarter to share what we discover with the world.
In addition to our presentation to Aegis Trust, we'll be creating a document that chronicles the Annual Challenge and captures key findings from the event. This document will serve three purposes:
It'll be shared publicly (digitally) to benefit museums and memorials around the world. It'll be published as a book created for campaign backers. And it'll be the starting point for a day-long virtual event happening in August. As part of that event, we'll work together with experts, volunteers, and the Kickstarter community to refine the concepts we've developed and explore how they could be applied in many different contexts.
To generate as much impact as possible, we need you — your involvement, your support, your commitment.
A Preview of the 2014 Annual Challenge
- June 1: Research at Kigali Genocide Memorial and other sites, interviews with key memorial personnel
- June 2: Interviews with genocide survivors, reconciliation groups, trauma counselors
- June 3: Interviews with government officials
- June 4: Travel to London with in-flight design session
- June 5: Design Day 1, London
- June 6: Design Day 2, London
- June 7: Present findings to Aegis Trust
- July: Release findings document via Creative Commons
- August: Virtual conference including Kickstarter supporters and key stakeholders
In 2013, we partnered with the Dalai Lama Center for Peace and Understanding to find new ways of instilling empathy in the hearts and minds of children.
To get a sense of how the Annual Challenge works, there’s no better resource than this short film we made to encapsulate the story:
In 2012, we identified new ways of supporting the musical economy of New Orleans. And in 2011, we created new ways of helping at-risk populations of Chicago.
Our partner in this venture is the Aegis Trust, an international organization working to prevent genocide. Our designers will partner closely with Aegis while also looking for ways to generate broadly applicable ideas.
We’re actively recruiting the best and brightest designers in the world to take part in this challenge. As we solidify additional commitments, we’ll post them as campaign updates.
In our previous challenges, we have been privileged to work with world-class talent from companies including Google, Microsoft, Twitter, Automattic, Atlassian, Groupon, Obama for America, IDEO, GE, CNN, Adaptive Path, Context Partners, SapientNitro, ThoughtWorks and Manifest.
UX for Good was honored with the “People’s Choice Award” at the Interaction Design Association’s annual gathering.
About UX for Good
UX for Good pushes design as far as it can go. We're out to set the edge so non-practitioners can see the full potential of design and practitioners can do the most meaningful work of their careers. To learn more, visit www.uxforgood.com.
About Insight Labs
Insight Labs is a charitable foundation that assists in the development of novel solutions to complex, social challenges. In addition to staging the UX for Good Annual Challenge, Insight Labs has provided innovation support to U.S. Department of State, Community of Democracies, Harvard Medical School, National Endowment for the Arts and more than 50 other government agencies, NGOs and non-profit institutions since 2010. To learn more, visit www.theinsightlabs.org.
Risks and challenges
UX for Good and Insight Labs are both organizations that were designed to take on challenges that have never been solved before. Both groups have realized considerable success by finding the best minds in the world, giving them the tools they need to collaborate, then getting out of the way.
In the UX for Good Annual Challenge, we have even more reason to believe that this approach leads to results. After all, the designers we're convening have built their careers by delivering genuinely creative solutions under the most demanding conditions. To support their natural talent, we've done advance work with key people and institutions in Rwanda who are eager to participate in the designers' research. But we'll also enable them to explore on their own, asking whatever questions are necessary to produce an original solution. It's this dynamic approach that allows UX for Good to produce amazing solutions even when the key problem turns out to be different form what we imagined.
Each year, UX for Good also learns more about how to capitalize on the ideas produced after the event. For example, the key concept from last year's challenge was developed into a working prototype at WebVisions's 2013 Hackathon for Social Good. Additional aspects of the annual challenge have been picked up by graduate students at DePaul University. This year, we'll open the continuing development of our solutions to even more people through a Web-based, hackathon-style event in August.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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