At mention of this project, we were all very excited to create a service, instead of 'design.' It was a project that we thought was so different in the scope of our department that we were excited for the variation. We would come to find out that we were in fact designing. We were design thinking. To begin this project, we sought to first find an under-serviced group. In this day and age, of innovation and instant gratification, it becomes a more difficult task than expected. A few hours of discussion and brainstorming later, it was clear that each group member was drawn, and rather devoted, to different ideas. The ideas in consideration were:
1 ) College students desiring a clothing swap service
2 ) The loved ones of a person suffering from illness (friends & family)
3 ) Adults who desired to shop at farmers markets instead of mainstream grocers
Each group was certainly valid and had many options for execution, yet our group could not come to a mutual decision. We came to the realization that if we chose a topic we were this passionate about, it may be better served as a degree project instead of this assignment. Given this realization, we resurfaced one of our brainstormed ideas - carpooling. One member told the story of how her friend, Emily, always had trouble finding a ride home from college. Her college, Stonehill, is in western Massachusetts, an area that public transportation does not reach. She also has limited range with her on campus shuttle. At the end of the day, she is stuck! To make it home, students at her school improvise. Through word of mouth, students with cars on campus going home for long breaks offer rides to other students who live near their hometown. Sometimes they'll ask for gas money, but usually it is done out of goodwill. At the end of this story, another group member piped in saying that her friends who go to UMass Amherst are in the same situation every break. Being in the city, we are not exposed to how difficult living without public transportation can be, yet through our relations learned about a truly under-serviced group. In all of our fuss about the groups so near and dear to our hearts, we hadn't realized that we were sitting on a gold mine!
Our service design project would set up a system/means of transportation for college students traveling to certain areas, who either cannot afford public transportation, other forms of transportation, or areas that do not have transportation methods.
This group is in need of a safe, cost-effective, and convenient way to travel. They need to be able to rely on this transportation service to get them home, or to any other destination, without being worried that they can't afford it, will be around potentially harmful crowds, and the ability to travel with their peers. This service also allows those who are willing to donate their services of a car or driving abilities to their peers.