Archive | January, 2013

Giving back: Team Why Segregate members revisit their schools to create waste management related awareness in Bangalore

9 Jan

Genesis:

For the team ‘Why Segregate’ comprising of two mentors and four mentees the purpose of joning hands in Impact Together was very clear, to work on a civic issue that struck a chord – Bangalore’s garbage problem.

After identifying the problem they would like to address they carried out many rounds of field work, talking to different stakeholders to gauge the ground reality. They started with an initial idea of promoting composting, which is a process of converting organic waste into a simple fertilizer. Though the idea was good, it involved a much greater investment in time and money than what people seemed willing to make.

Using the design thinking methodology their research indicated that awareness about the garbage issue wasn’t too high. Citizens of Bangalore were unaware as to why changes were needed in the first place. These factors led them to consider conclude on an awareness campaign to inform and educate the masses about the problem, and to propose simple solutions, with a focus on segregation. The team further engaged in active brainstorming with the subject expert Rana Chakrabarti of SAP and came to the conclusion that it made sense to target school children through videos, presentations and activities, thereby impressing upon them the importance of the issue. They also thought they would touch upon how it affected them and what they could do about it. Their focus then moved towards implementing these ideas.

One of the team’s mentors Shishir describes the journey undertaken by the group in three phases. They have been discussed below-

Planning:

The team members started on multiple tracks – creating/sourcing material for the presentations, connecting with schools to get the requisite permissions, brainstorming over the methodology they would employ in presenting the information and so on. In order to cut down on the cost involved in creating a custom made video the team decided to use material in the public domain to convey their message.Simultaneously the active mentees of the group went to their schools to explain propose a session and seek the required permissions. It was their strong ties with the school management that got them a quick and comprehensive approval.
In order to familiarize themselves with the school atmosphere and to gather input for creating a final design the team visited one of their target schools. Drawing heavily from the design thinking principles of prototype the team engaged in a low-cost, medium touch engagement with their user base (students in this case). At this event they hosted an information session for two classes using a laptop. They showed them a series if three videos identified by the group and provided the requisite context. They even tried to elicit reactions from the students to actively involve them in the discussion. One of the team members remarked “we were pleasantly surprised by their knowledgeable and thoughtful responses.” “This also helped make the session feel less intimidating than a lecture or a sermon.” Encouraged by their audience’s response they decided to go ahead with their plan, targeting the entire school this time instead of just two classes.

Execution:

The initial plan was to target two adjoining schools in one day, by hosting students from each school in a large auditorium and using a projector to present the informative material. However, based on their previous dry run, they felt that using a laptop in a classroom provided a more direct platform, and helped them to engage their audience better. So the team members decided to change tack and address the students’ class-wise. The presentations were made in two rooms where batches of students were seated for the discussions. The team then ran three sessions lasting forty-five minutes each, where they discussed the issue, how it affected everyone and what could be done about it, with segregation as a first step. These sessions drew a fair amount of interest and the students did respond to varying degrees. Of course all batches had their own dynamics, which were also dictated by the time of the day and their energy levels. On the whole, team members echoed the feeling that they did make a connection but it was not easy to validate how strong it was. The fun part was having students sign pledge sheets to indicate their commitment, which went down really well.

Wrap up:

As mentioned earlier, the team saw varying levels of interest and interactions, but overall the sessions did appear to make an impact. To drive home the point, the team now plans to have activity sessions around the theme of garbage and waste management. They also aim to approach some more schools to expand their campaign. Finally, they are trying to fine tune their delivery so that the message delivery is more effective and actually leads to a change in the team’s mentees’ neighborhoods.

Mount Carmel College went Hydrophilic!

8 Jan

A team comprising of three mentors- Sanjai K, Deepa Adkoli and Veena Krishnan and four mentees Shankarjyothi, Shubha, Smitha and Latha Y, decided to call themselves ‘team hydrophilic’ as they realized they were a bunch of nature buffs who wanted to do something about conserving water.

The word ‘hydrophilic’ literally means ‘water loving!’  Their team believes that “we may not get all the water we want, but we can have the water we need.” In the brainstorming workshop session a team member was noted saying “we want to start a dedicated movement that goes viral in sensitizing and encouraging people to practice water conservation.”
After a round of brainstorming with their team along with other Impact Together participants they decided to declare a “No Water Day” – A water conservation awareness initiative by Hydrophilic Team- in some colleges where they did their user research.

Their field research findings in a couple of colleges led them to understand some important user behavioral aspects like-

  • Students tend to be flippant about using water wisely.
  • Students who tend to be conscious about saving water at home were found to have a different attitude towards it while in college.
  • Lastly, college authorities didn’t seem perturbed about the need to save water (they encountered some leaking pipes, taps, etc).

These findings helped team members process few insights like-

  • Students tend to be less concerned about using water judiciously since they do not see the immediate impact of saving water.
  • Also, water being a shared resource a student doesn’t have much incentive to save it others may waste it anyway.
  • Lastly but not the least, they fail to see the monetary impact / benefit of saving water.

These insights assisted the team hydrophilic to form a design challenge- “How might we make it fun and cooler for the college students to save water thereby creating a multiplier effect to spread awareness?” Their long-term vision is to reduce the wastage of water in colleges by spreading awareness about water conservation practices in institutions.

After several months of going deeper into the heart of the problem, involving themselves in some secondary research, much deliberation over the best practices and planning on effective ways of approaching college students it was on the 15th of December, 2012,  that they launched their first-ever event! The plan was to conduct “No water day” campaign as part of the Mount Carmel College’s fest to promote the idea of using water wisely among numerous students.

During the course of their “intervention” they conducted 4 fun activities around the college campus.  The underlying purpose of all these activities was to encourage youngsters to take a pledge to save water and use it wisely.

This is how team hydrophilic with their new joinee mentees Shilpa, Ramya, Lakshmi, Divya, Kavitha and Gayathri, mentor Veena & Deepa and Nikhil & Kaustubhi of team Mentor Together went around celebrating NO WATER DAY-

Good-Deed Ballot :-
Ramya and Shilpa went around the campus with a ballot collecting stories of small-time water conservationists written in a few words, who dropped their chits of good deeds in the ballot and shared the stories with them.

Did You Know Quiz :-
Gayathri, Lakshmi and Deepa went around the campus asking fun trivia about water, distributing sweets and stickers to those who are “aware” about the issues in question.

Your Glass of Water :-
Divya, Kavitha and Veena walked around the campus with two glasses of water, one with muddy water and one with very little clean water. Are you wondering what they did? Well they had  a lot of fun asking people to whack their brains and come up with as many answers as possible over how can they use this glass of muddy and clear water each!?  The innovators of the times were congratulated and appreciated with fun goodies.

Handful of water :-
Nikhil and Kaustubhi from Mentor Together team had two teams of volunteer participants play the game of transporting a handful of water. The task was to diligently transport water from one mug kept at one end of the  queue to the other using their hands, within a time limit of 2 minutes.  The team with more water in the mug at the other end won. The participants and winners were given stickers and candies each who in return pledged to save water while on campus. They literally made every drop count!

With the help of MCC’s student’s union the team succeeded in hosting a small prize distribution ceremony. In order to reinforce the best practices and the right attitude the best respondents for each game won a fun gift voucher at the end of the day.

At the end of the day team hydrophilic’s mentor Deepa remarked  “In a nutshell, it was a memorable & enriching experience. The enthusiasm shown by the mentees was contagious, so needless to say, their high energy levels kept us all on our toes. From the perspective of the audience, it was ultimately a mixed bag of reactions. Some were approachable and while others didn’t seem interested. There were challenges to be faced, that was a given. However, the passion drove us in overcoming the obstacles. We were also pleasantly surprised at the water conservation awareness levels some students showed. Is it a regular feature with students everywhere is an inquiry that remains to be done. The bottom line is there was a paradigm shift in thought process and it was fun sharing, learning, exchanging ideas and our rationale.

The team members plan to restart their intervention and reach out to a larger audience in the month of January. They also want to continue churning out this movement to do their share in saving the source of life- water.

So a hope to make a positive social change lingers on…

 

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Bring Back Sunshine’s prototype event- A puppetry workshop

6 Jan

Azad Tripathi, Sujit H and Satish G along with our mentee Shilpa S did not take too long to conclude that they were all waiting to do something for the senior citizens of Bangalore.

Employing the principles of design thinking, they engaged in extensive user research in Lal Bagh, Jayanagar, Indiranagar and other parts of Bangalore. With the gathered insights they formulated a design challenge- How might we create more opportunities of recreation and fun for the elderly?
How Might We provide a platform for the Elderly to engage in activities of their interest? And, thus, a group that pledged to think of innovative ways of engaging the elderly in fun and inspirational activities was born which they called Bring Back Sunshine.

In order to validate their approach they decided to conduct a prototype event- a puppetery workshop. Before conducting the event they decided to create a buzz about it and get the feedback of their target audience. On two consecutive (Saturday and Sunday) mornings at 6am, the team comprising of three mentors and one mentee hit the famous Lal Bagh and spoke to the senior citizens, gathered their response over the idea and found out that they thought their idea had immense potential.

And finally with butterflies in their stomach ‘the day’ arrived! With the backdrop of the creative work space JAAGA located in the heart of Bangalore they kick-started the event with 18 elders. The team fondly remembers the help extended by Archana and Shekhar YM of Jaaga for their debut workshop.
The event that started at 10 am went up till 3:30 pm. Dr.Bhanumathi from Pavai center of puppetry was invited as an expert from the field of puppetry, she also played the role of the facilitator of the session. One of the team members remarked “she had the entire crowd mesmerized with the knowledge and love for the art shown by her.”

Toward the end the workshop turned into a small show where the elders were seen presenting their puppets. They told their stories through the puppets and also expressed a deep sense of gratitude toward the organizers for making a huge difference in their lives. One of the participants was noted saying “I am extremely thankful to the team for making my day so enjoyable and meaningful, which, otherwise would have been a dull and boring day.”

One of the team mentors Azad remarked “We felt a great sense of achievement at having made a change in the lives of 18 elders.”

With a group photo of the adults, the organizing team, the facilitator and of course everyone’s puppets the workshop was closed and the elders seen off.

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Mentor Together: Pitching Event

6 Jan

The brainstorming workshop in Impact Together saw a round of insight-sharing activity (3-minute pitch) and feedback-gathering from our design thinking expert- Rana Chakrabarti. Following this the process of brainstorming ensued with 3 ground rules set- go for quality, suspend judgment and go for wild ideas- and the entire group split into two. Both the groups encountered one design challenge each and came up with some crazy, some sober, some thought-provoking ideas among others.

With lessons from the brainstorming session the teams went back to form a point of view and identify their own design challenge. After a hiatus of 4 weeks teams met again equipped with their logic models. These logic model expanded on what activities will the group conduct in order to create a sustainable social solution, what will be the output, outcomes and verifiable indicators of those activities and lastly what resources will be needed for the same. On this day, six teams passed marked ‘check’ over a pivotal milestone of a social entrepreneur’s journey, that of fundraising. Each team presented their logic model and pitched for an amount to carry out their project-based operations. A prestigious panel comprising of Mr. Sri Krishna from Unitus Seed Fund, Mr Lakshman from SAP India and Arundhuti  Gupta from Mentor Together carefully heard the 10-minute pitches of each team,  provided their feedback and suitable grant. Some teams were encouraged to rethink through their design challenge, create a new logic model and pitch again!

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