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Give Your Partners and Mentors a Project Takeaway


There are many ways that your team can implement your ideas or share your findings to make an impact.

Implement your idea: Your team can hold an event to test a prototype or service. Even implementing something for a day is the first step to build a sustainable solution. Use these events to get feedback on ways to improve services, to get data on how many people may be interested in your solution, and to make an impact in your users lives!

Pass off your idea to partners: Your team can pass off working prototypes to community partners for them to support your users. For a pass-off to be successful, your team will need to consider how much extra work your solution may place upon your community partner and the added benefit to your partner's core services. Successful partnerships typically happen when your solution makes it easier for the partner to do their job and has limited added cost to your partner.

It is very important to show your partner gratitude and give something tangible and helpful to your partner as a way to thank them for their support. You should also thank your mentor for their support by showing them what you made.

Effective ways to do this include:

  1. Pass off the insights and lessons you learned from working on this project.
  2. Sharing the user research you conducted can help your partners understand the reasons behind your work and give a better chance of adoption. 
    • Quotes and stories help partners think about their own ideas or challenges, which may help your team’s research and solutions continue to create impact past your immediate involvement with a project. A simple way to do this can be giving partners your teams’ midterm and final deliverables that include findings and quotes from user research.
  3. Make sure you ask your partners for take-aways or next steps that would be helpful to further your solutions. Small wins and fulfilling simple requests advance the relationship tremendously.
  4. If your team has a validated solution from user testing:
    • Are there opportunities for you to run a temporary installation?
    • What support from your partner or the studio would you need to complete your installation?
    • Are there ways to give your partner the solution to quickly implement now?
    • What has your partner's initial reaction been to your solutions?
    • Why would your partner be excited about sustaining your solution?
    • What support would you need to give your partner to help them implement?
    • What other ways will your team thank your partner for their support?
  5. If your team DOES NOT have a validated solution from user testing:
    • Have you asked your partner what take-aways from your project would be helpful for their work?
    • What are the main insights you have found from user research this term?
    • What other ways will your team thank your partner for their support?
    • Will your team be continuing?

Network Best Practices

Give tangible deliverables or one-pagers to community partners like DFA Northwestern

In Spring 2015, DFA Northwestern pushed teams to make a tangible deliverable, such as a storybook, a map of volunteer guide, one-pager of service description and blueprint, and a pamphlet illustrating various resources for the homeless, to pass off to the community partners at the end of the quarter. DFA NU held a final review a week early to account time for teams to meet with their community partner to hand off the prototype at the end of the quarter.