BLUELAB THAILAND’S 2017 NEEDS ASSESSMENT TRIP TO MAE CHAN AND CHIANG MAI IS DONE! WHAAAT?!
What exactly is meant by design ethnography and needs statements?
What did we accomplish? More importantly, what now? What’s next??
WHAT WE DID:
It was not easy finding a simple, comprehensive explanation to avoid our focus being hazily misunderstood hazily or lost in translation. We are a user-centered engineering design team using design ethnography (learning about the customs and culture of a people through fieldwork and lifestyle interactions in order to inform the design process by understanding the context) to collect needs statements (a statement that articulates a problem along with the change and the outcome required without presenting solutions).
This means we spent a lot of time this year researching (Ethnographic Research) for a foundation of the region (Mae Chan District of the Chiang Rai Province) and then this month, visiting the sites to tour and speak with locals, officials and experts to gather a relevant picture of the community, how it operates, and how we can fulfill relevant identified needs statements.
The month was divided (alternating) between working (preparation, needs filtering, presenting) and learning from professors at Chiang Mai University and interviewing and touring with locals in Mae Chan. By the second trip to Mae Chan, we proposed to Mae Chan officials some filtered needs statements down to 4 project tracks relating to flood mitigation, allowing us to recieve feedback and refine our scope.
With this information in mind, we summarized our findings into a final presentation and will consolidate it into a Needs Assessment report, bringing us to “What Now”…
The travel team members have now left Chiang Mai and later this summer will finish the Needs Assessment Report and maintain contact with our partners (and new and old friends studying in Thailand!) abroad.
For the months following the report, we hustle into a phase not unlike build season: we will recruit new members, evaluate new support and ideas and proceed to work with project specifications for prototyping!
We would like to extend our sincere thanks to our partner groups whose gracious assistance and cooperation allowed for it all to happen (Mae Chan’s locals and officials, Chiang Mai University, OASYS Research Group, วิศวะ มช., Dr. Paskorn, to name a few); we look forward to taking the next steps of sharing what we’ve gathered to further and apply it in upcoming projects.
And thank YOU, reader, for following us and this trip from the beginning 🙂
-Allison “Alli” C.