At the Technology and Design for Empowerment (TanDEm) lab, we follow a three-step philosophy towards bringing about community-driven social change.
First, we aim to use ethnographic methods to understand cultures and ecologies. In this stage, we observe and listen, be it in mobile shops in rural Uttar Pradesh (India), in the wifi hotspots of Havana (Cuba), or while visiting earthquake-affected sites in Manta (Ecuador). Our focus here is on identifying the intersections where our "users" are situated.
Second, we employ an assets-based approach to identify existing technological infrastructures, mobile practices, cultural norms, social networks, and more, depending on the communities we are working with. These "assets" can then be supported, leveraged, and/or extended through design.
Third, when we have a better understanding of the communities we are working with, and have identified the assets they have, we focus on mobilities and aspirations. Where are we (point a), where are we headed (point b), and how do we get from point a to point b? These are the questions we ask before we design and introduce community-centric interventions at this stage.
Get involved by getting in touch with neha dot kumar at gatech dot edu.