We formed a relationship that became systematic, and approach that enlarged the group's understanding of their service does. When the organization was able to review their reflection through media, situations become more transparent, discussion about procedure opened up, and there was opportunity to analyze behavior. The process was structured, however, since no organization is the same the methodology that was used allows room for adaptation depending on the specific organization, its needs, goals, and preferences.

Media for Advocacy was approached with the following questions: What if designers bring their visual interpretation to the table with the intent to reflect the situation to the people who are living it? This reflection can show a group the ingenuity behind their endeavors and give them the space to consider how they can better function within their own community and organization. How does the designer/community relationship change when the designer's observations, as media, are reflected back to the organization? Media crafted experiences aided the organization in seeing the realities of the situations they deal with, created space to think differently, and cultivated creative solutions to issues within their practice.

One professor in the Media Design Program knew about my interest in non-profits and how it related to my thesis work. I explained to him that it wasn't organizations that were of interest to me, but the individuals and situations they are seeking help for. He suggested that non-profits are trying to fill in where the government has left off. They are trying to "fill in the dashes," or the blanks of what is lacking in our society. Non-profits are far from perfect. We are fooling ourselves if we think that they function smoothly and that they are going to be able to save the world. What impresses me and drives my own work is that there are individuals that are working for organizations, or on their own, to try to assist people and situations that need change. I wanted to research and embed myself into a community to learn their systems and see where I could intervene and help as a single designer.

One company that was particularly of interest to me is the firm IDEO and the Human Centered Design (HCD) Toolkit they have produced. IDEO's HCD Toolkit is a downloadable Adobe Acrobat file that can be accessed for free of their website by anyone. The intention behind their toolkit and the HCD process outlined is to shows how to "examining the needs, dreams, and behaviors of the people they want to effect with their solutions." Once they have identified what is "desirable" to the community the researchers begin to "view our solutions through the lenses of feasibility and viability." To be embedded within a community and gather stories and inspirations from them to provide solutions is a results proven system IDEO has developed. My goal was to cultivate an approach using only a single designer interacting with a community versus IDEO's approach of using a team. The idea of gathering content and bringing it back to the drawing board is IDEO's approach. Their design researchers come up with the ideas and solutions. My approach was to use different forms of media to gather the stories and inspirations from the community. I then crafted the media and presented it back to the community to review and analyze themselves and in conjunction with the designer. I wanted to give the power of reflection and solutions to them. Together we could come up with strategies versus me presenting them with solutions on my own. With the method of reflection the volunteers were able to see themselves from the outside looking in through media and start a discussion for how to shift their attitudes and practice. The documentation process was intentionally not a overcomplicated approach so that they couldn't replicate themselves and use in the future. The reflection process raised their expectations of how they approach their practice and also helped them see how media could be a useful analytical tool for them in the future.

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