Field Research: Volunteering

24 نوفمبر
2010

Sunday we as a group volunteered with a shelter. We went to the shelter, packed up, and then drove in a caravan to a liquor store not far from the shelter. The reason, I’m assuming, that the shelter picked this particular place to hand out breakfast on Sunday morning was because of the spacious parking lot.

When we got there at nine, there were people already standing in line; locals who were familiar with the service. The group set up tables, set out food, and assignment our group to hand out coffee to those that were waiting in line. As service began, our group split up: three of us poured syrup on people’s plates and two of us held trashbags.

This left us with ample opportunity to observe and communicate. Our observations consisted mainly of the following:

1. As the people (homeless and poor) waited in line, someone was either preaching or playing Christian music. While this is not entirely problematic in and of itself, it did seem that it might bother those who were not Christian or already affiliated with some other religion. This is when we noticed a missing element in most homeless oriented services: there are very few that are not associated with some religion.

2. Most of the people there were single males. I would say that 90% of the people were served that day were male. There were a few women, and only one of two children. This led us to believe that either most poor families were already getting assistance, that they did not know about the service, or they found the service to inconvenient to bring their children. However, after we conducted some research, we found that the majority of homeless people are single men and women, so that perhaps this difference was merely proportional.

3. In essence, the people who were there came to us rather than the other way around. Our group wondered how many people who might be hungry and nearby were unaware of the breakfast that was being served. We then thought that we might innovate a way to bring a meal service directly to those who needed it.

4. Even at the breakfast, there were leftovers. Surely it would have been more efficient to have means to hand out these leftovers, rather than taking them back to the kitchen at the shelter.

3 تعليقات to Field Research: Volunteering

Avatar

ShabiG

نوفمبر 25th, 2010 at 1:21 م

This very interesting research and would love to hear and see more. Did your team take any pictures? If so please post them. Additionally, it would be great to also document your own experiences at the shelter. How did you each feel through the experience, what were your emotions at different points in the experience, what were some thing that caused you difficulty, ect. Additionally, expand on your observations, what were people wearing? how did they behave? did they socialize with one another, with you? did you speak to any of them, if so, document your conversations. What were some of the things they were proud of? The more insights you can gather the more potential your team has in identifying a truly innovative solution, it will also help you build your business case.

Avatar

ShabiG

نوفمبر 25th, 2010 at 2:02 م

take a look at the power point that I presented on Innovation: http://rand.gatech.edu/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/What-is-Innovation1.pdf. This will give your team a good idea of what type of information you want to gather and document from your research. Through the research, Capture what people do, how they behave, document other objects that are involved in the experience, document the environmental characteristics that affect the experience, document the messaging and signage that helps guide people, document the services if any that are being provided as part of the experience. Additionally document your own personal experiences, how did you feel, were you confused, stressed, where did you look for answers, ect

The more you document the more insights your group can gather which will lead better brainstorming and ideation.

Avatar

FantasticFour

نوفمبر 29th, 2010 at 12:34 ص

We’re posting our pictures shortly, we found that our field experience gave the homeless emotions, faces and stories rather than just statistics. We definitely acquired knowledge as to how to go about formulating our Innovation Project. We took pictures and got a few stories, with many observations throughout the experience, and we’re using all of them in accordance with our project.

Comment Form

You must be logged in to post a comment.

top