RESEARCH | 2016

TEACHING | 2015

Applying ethnography to scale social change

Introducing human-centered design to government employees

BRIDGE INTERNATIONAL ACADEMIES

LAB @ OPM (OFFICE OF PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT)

ABOUT

Founded on the belief that education is every child's birthright, Bridge International Academies is a global chain of private schools dedicated to making the highest quality education available to children everywhere. By developing a technology-driven approach to teaching and classroom management, Bridge delivers the same exceptional education to every child, in every classroom. Each day, Bridge reaches over 100,000 children in emerging communities across Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria, Liberia, and India. 

Create and deliver a new curriculum on how to apply human-centered design for public servants across federal government.

CHALLENGE

In 2016, Bridge International Academies and the Government of Liberia signed an agreement to launch a public-private partnership to launch 25 new Bridge Academies throughout the country.

The initiative presented an opportunity to go beyond ensuring more children learning in classrooms. To build a powerful engagement strategy for launch, our team spent three weeks in eight different communities in Liberia. Immersed into daily life, we spent time with parents, educators, and local leaders in order to uncover meaningful insights.

The Lab at the US Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is both a practice and a space that fosters innovation through human-centered design. Because OPM serves an HR function within government, the Lab has always emphasized the importance of teaching and training.

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Monique Jaques for The New York Times

RESEARCH METHODS

  • Contextual inquiry
  • Expert interviews
  • Quantitative surveys using local researchers
  • Focus groups
  • Inquiry into social science best practices on social change research

We ultimately created a curriculum that emphasized:

  • Breaking down complex problems to understand their root causes
  • How root causes impact the people we serve
  • Why human behavior might inform potential solutions
  • The use of rapid prototyping to learn about and develop potential solutions to complex challenges

Over the three-day course, I helped students understand the importance of mindsets and design methodologies. Since the course was experential, I prepared students for qualitative research and led them through the design synthesis and prototyping.

 

RESEARCH AGENDA

To ensure a full understanding of our project, we explored a number of themes in our research plan.

Project Goal: What is the main value the Bridge brings to schools and communities?
Research Goal: Understand the educational needs, frustrations and aspirations of educators, parents and the community.  

  • Parenting: What are parents' dreams and hopes for their children's future? How does the child's school impact parenting
  • Teaching: What are the challenges, needs and aspirations that educators have?
  • Learning: How do educators and parents know that learning is happening? What are markers of signifiers of success and progress?
  • Education: What are the different ways the community views education and the school system? What does a good education look like and what does it provide? 

After the success of the course revamp, a Director of Education role was created at the Lab to focus on building and creating more content and courses about design in the public sector.

Because of the team's commitment to creating a hands-on and contextual course, we were invited to tailor our course content for VA Hospital staff through the VA Innovation Lab. I co-taught our course to nurses, doctors and administrators in Biloxi, Jackson, Milwaukee and San Francisco.

To date, more than 2,000 federal employees have taken design courses offered at the Lab.  

ROLE 

As the Associate Director of Global Customer Strategy, my work for Bridge focused on CX, with an empahsis on launching in Liberia. 

I did this work in partnership with Jennifer Giroux, then a consultant at ReD Associates, and now Vice President and Head of Global Insights & Strategy at Bridge.

We also hired a local research team of four in Liberia. This team was essential to our work.

As a Design Strategist at the Lab, I was part of both the curriculum and teaching teams. 

INSIGHTS

Through our fieldwork, we came away with some key research findings.

Public schools tend to be places of powerlessness, where educators, parents, community leaders, and students are constantly disappointed and frustrated with the state of their school.

Public school educators (whether teachers or administrators) often feel like strangers in their communities and are constantly in search for respect. Hungry to be celebrated, appreciated and admired in their communities.

Parents who send their kids to public schools often feel a sense of failure.They constantly wish that they could send their kids to a private school – a place they perceive as one that provides a system of learning they can trust.

In unstructured learning environments, students struggle to see the reason for staying in class. Children often leave school grounds the first opportunity they get, which is usually well before the school day ends.

We translated our findings into an engagement strategy. Details are confidential, but a summary is below.

After the success of the course revamp, a Director of Education role was created at the Lab to focus on building and creating more content and courses about design in the public sector.

Because of the team's commitment to creating a hands-on and contextual course, we were invited to tailor our course content for VA Hospital staff through the VA Innovation Lab. I co-taught our course to nurses, doctors and administrators in Biloxi, Jackson, Milwaukee and San Francisco.

To date, more than 2,000 federal employees have taken design courses offered at the Lab.  

CX Brief 7-1914

IMPACT

The new Bridge schools in Liberia have had promising results. The Ministry of Education recently gave Bridge an 'A' rating on the basis of 'significant quality of implementation' and agreed to open 43 additional schools in the second year of the pilot, for a total of 68 Bridge schools operating in Liberia.

Liberia, Desperate to Educate, Turns to Charter Schools, New York Times  

After the success of the course revamp, a Director of Education role was created at the Lab to focus on building and creating more content and courses about design in the public sector.

Because of the team's commitment to creating a hands-on and contextual course, we were invited to tailor our course content for VA Hospital staff through the VA Innovation Lab. I co-taught our course to nurses, doctors and administrators in Biloxi, Jackson, Milwaukee and San Francisco.

To date, more than 2,000 federal employees have taken design courses offered at the Lab.  

This is education in Liberia: A girl is more likely to be married by 18 than to know how to read. The last two times the University of Liberia held its entrance exams, 15 students passed — out of some 38,000 who took the test. Only 59 percent of 6-to-11-year-olds are actually in school.

Tina Rosenberg, New York Times

"I wanted to tell you how incredible the fundamentals class was. I enrolled hoping to gather some more tools/skills to when I facilitate projects & workshops, but I got SO MUCH MORE than that. I love the process we learned & the way it was taught."

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WORK

WORK

RESEARCH

RESEARCH

RESEARCH

RESEARCH

Applying ethnography to scale social change

Applying ethnography to scale social change

Applying ethnography to scale social change

Bridge International Academies

Bridge International Academies

Bridge International Academies

Bridge International Academies

UX

UX

UX

UX

Building a non-profit's first digital product

Building a non-profit's first digital product

Building a non-profit's first digital product

Cool Culture

Cool Culture

Cool Culture

UX

UX

UX

UX

Improving usability for millions of job seekers

Improving usability for millions of job seekers

Improving usability for millions of job seekers

Improving usability for millions of job seekers

USAJOBS.gov

USAJOBS.gov

USAJOBS.gov

RESEARCH

RESEARCH

RESEARCH

RESEARCH

Using play to address health & safety issues for adolescent girls

Using play to address health & safety issues for adolescent girls

Using play to address health & safety issues for adolescent girls

ECPAT-USA

ECPAT-USA

ECPAT-USA

SERVICE

SERVICE

SERVICE

SERVICE

Championing empathy as a strategy to reduce costs

Championing empathy as a strategy to reduce costs

Championing empathy as a strategy to reduce costs

CFPB

CFPB

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

UI

UI

UI

UI

Operationalizing design for a new product team

Operationalizing design for a new product team

Operationalizing design for a new product team

Federal Reserve

Federal Reserve

Federal Reserve

Federal Reserve

TEACHING

TEACHING

TEACHING

TEACHING

Helping students solve problems using creative mindsets & methodologies

Helping students solve problems using creative mindsets & methodologies

Helping students solve problems using creative mindsets & methodologies

IDEO U

IDEO U

Medic Mobile