A community partner is a nonprofit or social enterprise whose mission is at the center of a DFA project. They are 'partners' because this isn’t a one-way relationship; working alongside community partners means you understand their goals and strategy and then immerse in their programs. While your learn from their expertise, you also provide your partners with new perspectives, actionable insights, and tested ideas and prototypes that can support their work and solve the partner’s needs in facing their beneficiaries.
Output: Each project has a 1-3 community partner contact and have set up a meeting/call with them.
In 2015-2016, DFA Barnard|Columbia’s Juvenile Justice team were looking for an organization with a good idea of the problem and possible connections with users. After 2 months of emailing and persistent follow up, the team partnered with the Next Generation Center in Bronx. The team assigned 1-2 people to keep close contact with the partner while the partner met with the team regularly to create their final product, a video that documented the conversation of the youth group’s perspective. The team invited the youth from the Next Generation Center to their final expo! Check out their video here.
DFA community partners are crucial to connecting DFA teams to the expertise and users that make meaningful design possible. After MSU made initial contact with community partners, they wanted a visual way to highlight how the studio can assist and support their work. They created the visual map below to demonstrate their studio's value.