We spent an exciting and inspirational week in the Bay Area with Molly and Matteo and our hosts IDEO.org, the non-profit branch of the global human centered design consultancy. They had a dense program of workshops and company visits lined up for us. We got insight into Zynga, who told us about measuring player engagement in online games, Google, who toured us around their Mountain View campus, The Hub Bay Area, who gave us their take on collaboration and how it’s a core value for the global Hub movement, Airbnb, who discussed different notions of trust, Indiegogo, who advised us on launching successful crowdfunding campaigns, and Facebook, who discussed how to reach . Airbnb have a large crowd of photographers they send into people’s homes to get high quality, standardized and certified photos for their listings, which makes them more trustworthy and more likely to be rented. This inspired us to reach out to photographers and ask them to take photographs of infrastructure – or the lack thereof – in the communities where we would like to deploy Taarifa in order to get higher visibility and a better feel for the status quo. Wednesday evening we met a number of San Francisco based development organizations at a happy hour at the offices of FSG, a non-profit consultancy, who were asking how they might use Taarifa in some of their future development projects.
The highlight of the inspiration tour were the workshops IDEO folks led at their offices in San Francisco and Palo Alto. On Tuesday we got an introduction to Human Centered Design and applied it straight away with conducting interviews and prototyping and application to reduce food waste at IDEO and other companies. This made us realize the importance of getting concrete and first hand feedback from users before starting to write any code. We hope we can apply this methodology when redesigning Taarifa to better serve the people in the communities. In another workshop on Thursday on branding we had another opportunity to reflect more on Taarifa’s core mission and values and worked out concrete milestones and areas on which to focus next in the further development of the platform.