These are the people my project targets. Congratulations/apologies to all the friends and family featured! Something that has been with the project from the beginning is the relevancy. Each part of the career change process I can identify with through some contact or the other. This is strong evidence that your connection’s connections will be a powerful resource.
I’ve been thinking about how to activate the skills of people in industries that will be declining over the coming years. I think one of the big issues here will be making an alternative, more sustainable career seem appealing and not some hippy eco nudist commune. I think the best way to do this would be to link in with the idea of a Union. They’re there for you and it’s like a big club where you have mates and discuss the crap that life throws at you. Transitioning this to a cooperative that is driven by the members for the benefit of the local community will be a minefield of framing and terminology. We’ll see what happens. I like Social Traders’ definition of cooperative social enterprises. I think that may be the way to go…
Cartoon by Mark Knight
I did a 9×9 idea session and came up with a bit more direction for my project. I was focussing on the valuable time that a person has when they don’t have to worry about their job. A few of the more poetic ideas included:
- All employed people come to the assistance of the unemployed, as they may soon join them.
- Become a gypsy, live in a camper van and have a family circus act.
- Be poor-cool. Being penniless is so hot right now.
- Vinnie’s shopping assistants; helping you look expensive on a tight budget.
- Live like a backpacker, follow jobs around the country (like Help Exchange).
- Lessons on how to pretend to be employed so no one finds out.
A few of the more practical ideas where about getting a person to talk to others who share the experience and together to look at ways of feeling secure (financially, socially) without needing a job. Something like TACSI’s Family by Family initiative. These included:
- A neighbourhood community
- An online community
- A buddy system
Some of these activities could include:
- Helping out for non-monetary incentives (e.g. mowing the neighbour’s lawn for a home cooked meal).
- Sharing a membership and shopping at Costco
- Dinner swaps
- Garden produce swaps
- Joining a share system (e.g. Friends with things)
- Starting or joining a community garden
- Having events at your place (movie nights, bingo)
- Honing a practical skill and then teaching it , Mens Shed esque (knitting, woodwork, gardening)
- Starting your own social enterprise.
I think I’m onto something simple here. A self-perpetuating solution where a group of people learn and grow then pass their knowledge on seems to be the go. Many grassroots projects are based on this concept of community support and shared learning. For this scenario I would design the structure and supports for the service and build in the maintenance of the idea.
The final semester has begun! I have decided that my end of year outcomes are as follows:
- Develop a social enterprise start up, founded on design principles. The enterprise will work in the area of unemployment in Australia.
- Develop a tool kit that will help social enterprises apply design thinking to their work.
I have decided to focus on the topic of unemployment in Australia because it is a hot topic at the moment and is receiving a lot of attention from the journalists, government and public. I also believe it will be increasingly relevant in the future, as Australia adjusts to the carbon tax, and the changing face of industry as we, consumers, place more emphasis on sustainable practice (financially, ecologically and socially).
Narrowing it down to one topic will allow me to demonstrate the effectiveness of design thinking in social innovation, and the toolkit will be a way of applying this learning more generally to a wide range of issues.
A quick side note, We Teach Me is based at the York Butter Factory, a shared work space for Melbourne’s most exciting start-ups. Rooms full of entrepreneurs, working away on their dreams. Sigh, what a vision! Their website explains “the culture is one of collaboration, resource sharing and tough love,” invaluable when you are trying to create a service that will withstand the rough conditions of real life into the distant future. The very hip inhabitants include We Teach Me and the following:
RMIT communication design lecturer and one of my mentors of the past 6 months Yoko Akama introduced me to Marty Kemka, co-founder of We Teach Me. Seeing greater potential in the area of mature age education, the team believes that if you want to continue learning in your adult years, you shouldn’t have to go back to uni. Instead, We Teach Me creates a learning community where passionate people share their interests in lessons. You can teach and/or learn, and you can also request classes that you would be like to attend and if there is enough interest We Teach Me will try to help you out.
From astrology to fitness and paper craft, We Teach Me is a platform where you can take control of your learning and your day-to-day life is enhanced instead of disrupted.
It was exciting to meet Marty a few weeks ago as he really believes design can be a powerful tool in businesses. Many of the older, well established social enterprises I have spoken to in the past did not see how design was relevant to them. From chatting to various enterprises, I believe this is to do with the age of the business and it’s employees, as well as their flexibility. We Teach Me is a start up with a young team and an open mind, ready to try radical, yet well founded ideas.
I will be joining the We Teach Me team to see if I can input a bit of service and system design, focussing on making the lessons exciting and memorable and the online/offline transition silky smooth. May the service design gods smile upon this enterprise!
Just a quick update, after our stunning appearance at TACSI (check out Ella and my blog post here), the Radical Redesign team have decided they love interns and want a more permanent one. It is a great opportunity, click here to check it out! The position in a very small nutshell:
- 8-10 weeks at the TACSI office, Adelaide
- Design background required, including visual communications skills
- You must be a team player and a people person
- You will be working on the ‘Weavers‘ project, in the aged care field
- TACSI can assist with relocation within Australia, accommodation and provide a stipend
- Starting ASAP!
Apply using this form. Hop to it!