A community partner is a local organization working within your project’s problem space. They are often experts in their field and have similar goals and interests. You can work with a community partner to connect with other experts, focus your research, and recruit users, many of whom are the users of the community partner as well!
Effective ways to do this include:
Identify potential community partners
Craft your message
Similar to pitching to users, how can you pitch to community partners?
Schedule 2-3 calls or in-person meetings with community partners
In 2015, 3 Summer Studio teams worked with Heartland Alliance and their Refugee Assimilation Team, the Greater Chicago Food Depository, and a research team from Northwestern Medicine. After a project coach suggested to work with the same community partner as the previous year, the studio lead met with them to go over important details at this early stage of scoping and starting a new project.
To accompany the conversation that went through possible project topics, she made a timeline of their DFA process, highlighting important dates for the community partner including a mid-project and final review. You can see her timeline and project briefs of summer studio here!
Picture taken by teams during a field research trip in the first week.