After a fruitful immerse phase, we sat down and synthesized the results of both our personal, 1-1 interviews with other studios as well as the survey we sent out to a variety of national projects. The first key insight we gained from this research was that studios have a problem with recruitment/retention, as many students lack a fundamental understanding about what DFA does, and many students who are part of the organization end up dropping quickly when the workload becomes too much. Secondly, it seems that DFA studios have problems recruiting community partners, as many partners do not know how to properly communicate with DFA studios. Finally, we looked at why many DFA members stay doing DFA, and we noticed that many do it because it is a resume builder, has a great community, is socially impactful, and/or presents members with the opportunity to engage the community.
One of our quantitative measure of success was a long term goal of having 100% buy in of interested studios into the design journal by 2020. Additionally, one medium term goal we had was to have 50% of studios represented in the “interested studios” categories by 2019. A final medium/short term goal we had was to have 100% of student projects for DFA 2018 project in the Design Journal.
One assumption that we held was that studios would be willing to thoroughly document their work for a design journal. We have realized, however, that submissions to the design journal, and therefore the documentation of the design process, is not something that individuals will immediately be willing to do. Therefore, we definitely need to think further into how we incentivize individuals to submit to our design journal, and perhaps event cater the structure of the journal around this.
A critical how can we statement that reframed our process after taking into consideration the immersion process was the following: how can we have our reader understand human-centered design after reading about one project? We thought that this summarized alot of our thinking, as it made us understand the importance of communication as well as education that our design journal must achieve.