FASTFWD: DESIGNING WITH SAFECITY
Partnering with a safety organization to address sexual harassment
FastFWD is a partnership among The City of Philadelphia, GoodCompany Group, a social enterprise accelerator, and the Wharton Social Impact Initiative. It is a competition to inspire American cities to generate innovative ideas that solve major challenges and improve city life. The University of the Arts' Masters of Industrial Design program was given the opportunity to assist some of the entrepreneurs in their work during the accelerator program.
I was able to collaborate with Safecity, a not for profit organization based in India that provides a platform for people to share their personal stories of sexual harassment and abuse in public spaces. These stories get aggregated as hot spots on a map indicating trends in different locations. Safecity wanted to address several questions through FastFwd. Some of the questions I was able to assist them in addressing were:
What do users want; how can Safecity address users' needs?
What does safety feel and look like to people?
How can Safecity inform people about safety?
How can Safecity be more than just a website and be more interactive?
To answer these questions, we developed a workshop that was carried out in several high schools and college campuses in Philadelphia. The workshops allowed people to share about what makes them feel safe, share their stories and experiences and also share some of their safety needs. Through the workshops, we gathered tips from people on what to do in unsafe situations and what else they would like to see from Safecity. As a result, Safecity helped raise awareness about what sexual harassment looks like and empowered people to talk about it. The workshop was turned into a toolkit that Safecity continues to use with different groups of people. The tips gathered from the workshops also served to create a campaign which consisted of collecting safety tips that could be done in 60 seconds or less and making them available to people. From the information we gathered, we also worked together to develop a safety app concept for Safecity to develop further. At the end of our collaboration, Safecity was left with these tools as well as with some more ideas for further exploration.
Workshop information can be found on their website at http://safecity.in/campaign-categories/workshops-seminars/
With the workshops we wanted to create an environment where participants could comfortably share their experiences and thoughts. Participants were asked what made them feel safe, what made them feel unsafe and what safety precautions they took. They were also asked to mark down on a map where they had witnessed or experienced sexual harassment of any form in order to direct the participants into a discussion about their experiences and needs.
I started testing and prototyping a safety app concept to discover what features would be important to users. We found that Safecity can be more than a reporting system and can also be a platform that allows people to connect with each other to create buddy systems or to share safety tips.