Moving Beyond the Status Quo to Improve Individual and Community Well-being
Research and Development isn’t something that you hear about very often in social service organizations. In fact, almost not at all. But at Kinsight, this has been a strong focus in the last few years.
In 2014 we partnered with Burnaby Association for Community Inclusion (BACI) and posAbilities to work with InWithForward (IWF). IWF is an international group of researchers and social service designers who work In homes and systems, With people, professionals, and policy makers, to move lives Forward. Their goal is to “turn social safety nets into trampolines.”
We’re learning new techniques to achieve a deeper understanding of what is actually going on for people and to identify new options together.
Our work with IWF has taught us a lot about ethnographic, or on the ground, research. We’ve explored social isolation, loneliness and what feeds people’s interests and spirit. This research led to the development of Kudoz.
In addition to Kudoz, nearly 30 staff from the partner organizations worked together in Fifth Space – a first-of-its-kind social research lab — to support learning and the application of the research and user-centred design process. Once a week for a six-month period staff from children’s, youth, and adult services as well as senior management worked in interagency teams.
Fifth Space led to the design and prototyping of other exciting initiatives, such as Real Talk (formerly Ask-A-Dude), which recently received funding from Health Canada. It’s a new way to provide people with information about relationships, sexuality and staying safe and healthy.
Fifth Space was our first attempt to learn the process and we’ve recently become a founding member of the newly launched Ground Space. Grounded Space is Canada’s first Research and Development collective for social organizations. Grounded Space recognizes that social organizations were originally set-up to deliver services, not develop alternatives, and the teams are working to change that.
Through research, idea generation, testing, tweaking and trying again, we are attempting to build our own skills, and apply user centred design practices to build new opportunities. Ultimately our hope is to be able to co-create new solutions for people and our communities.