Whilst working as a Strategist at Beyond in San Francisco I recognised that the skills we use to solve our clients business problems could also be used to address social issues in the Bay Area. As a city of incredible wealth-disparity it felt pertinent that we use our position of privilege to invest in the community.
I ran an all-agency study which found that 90% of my colleagues felt ‘helping society’ was an important value in their employer and yet 66% said Beyond are ‘not at all’ aligned.
With this finding I brought together a team to launch Beyond Good: using design thinking and technology to address social issues.
The first issue we chose to address was around LGBTQQ youth.
We selected this topic as a result of an all-agency inspiration wall exercise and in-depth research into five key areas.
In order to give us greater understanding of the situation; add credibility to our efforts and enable us to work in a human-centered way we built a partnership with Lyric; one of the first and largest LGBTQQ youth centers in the country.
A key challenge in conducting the session was bringing together truly cross-disciplinary teams (some from finance, HR, development) and ensuring they had the tools to answer the day's creative briefs.
In order to help this, we created a deck of ideation prompt cards which contained: tech tools, business models and wild cards to inspire diverse thinking:
"The ideation cards really helped us get through barriers where we felt stuck in a rut and pushed our creative thinking."
In order to ensure participants didn't feel overwhelmed by the task and kept focussed in their thinking we designed Idea Canvas' for the teams to fill-in during the day. Teams were also invited to use this as a prompt to present back at the end of the day.
This ensured that time was focussed on creative development (rather than presentation design!).
At the end of the day we re-grouped and each team presented their ideas while receiving live feedback from users in the room.
And this is just the start...
The hackathon was simply one part of the experiment of Beyond Good and I can't wait to see how it grows.
Our newly appointed GM has confirmed that he now wants to ensure that as an agency we constantly give back to our community and has just briefed our Beyond Good team on a Christmas initiative.
Watch this space and follow us on Twitter for updates!