The Raising Places design team in Hudson has been busy conducting research focused on the group’s positive goals! (See here for more on those goals, which were drafted at the Kickoff Lab).

Over the previous six weeks, the team learned from teens, parents and teachers; employers and people who run job training programs; police officers and school resource officers, police administration and individuals from the school board; renters, property owners  and people working in local government and economic development. The purpose of this work was to better understand the needs, assets, aspirations and lived experiences of these community members, so that the team could create better, more child-centered and more locally-relevant programs, spaces, policies and systems.

From the research and synthesis came a series of powerful insights, each of which led to an opportunity statement. Starting with the phrase “How might we…,” an opportunity statement is a tool to spark brainstorming and new ways of looking at old problems.

Design team member Brandon Santos considers data during Day 1 of the Ideas Lab (left); insights and "How might we's" were on display in three languages (English/Spanish/Bangla) at the public event on Day 2 (right).

Insights about youth employment

The team discovered that finding the right job isn’t an individual task - it takes an informed and connected team. They also learned that current systems for communicating job opportunities are outdated and hard for youth to access. Finally, they saw that even though there are several existing job training programs, they can be out of reach for youth in Hudson due to both knowledge and transportation barriers.

From these insights they wrote the following opportunity statements:

- How might we support each Hudson youth to create and expand their team and network?

- How might we make posting and looking for a job in Hudson as easy as posting and finding an Airbnb in Hudson?

- How might we bring accessible job training to every youth in Hudson, wherever they are?

Insights about police-community interaction

The design team’s research showed that police can often choose who they interact with, but how they interact is limited as members of law enforcement. They also found that police often don’t understand the level of impact they have on the community.

From these insights they wrote the following opportunity statements:

- How might we support police in shifting their scope of responsibility from symptoms to root causes?

- How might we leverage the power of community to incentivize change within the police force?

Insights about affordability

Through their research, this small group learned that there’s a common perspective in city bureaucracy (and beyond) that economic development should focus on tourism, attracting development, and expanding the tax base, and that that will be good for everyone. They also saw that renters in Hudson (both commercial and residential) are experiencing uncertainty, precarity and displacement at an accelerating pace, which also creates emotional and psychological challenges for people, including families and kids.

From these insights they wrote the following opportunity statements:

- How might economic development in the city of Hudson include children and families?

- How might we better protect people from being displaced from their homes and businesses?

Design team members Jennifer Stockmeier, Jabin Ahmed, Maija Reed and Kamal Johnson review sketches after the public Ideas Lab event (left); back at Greater Hudson Promise Neighborhood, the team clustered the ideas with the most community energy into larger concepts (right).

At the public Ideas Lab event, community members were asked to brainstorm and sketch ideas in response to these opportunity statements. Over a hundred people showed up to this event, and generated over 250 ideas. The ideas ranged from new programs, campaigns and digital services, to new policies and plans for the town, to new businesses and systems of support. 

The team is now gearing up for the prototyping sprint, where they will be making, testing, and iterating on these ideas with a wide range of community members. They will present their next round of concepts at the Action Lab on February 4. Stay tuned!

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