We’ll be sharing a series of updates on each week’s activities during our NYC School Admissions: Discovery for Design project. These posts are intended to share our process, not specific project insights or findings. Click on the Weekly tag for all our weekly posts to date.
Week 8: What
In Week 8, we prepared and presented our discovery findings and recommendations. As a first step, after rapidly revising our slide deck from Week 7, we held a “dress rehearsal” with some iZone partners who had seen the presentation in early iterations.
Using their comments, we then revised our slides and finalized a presentation script for our four presenters. While we would ultimately speak to our slides from memory, practicing our material with a written script allowed us to be mindful of the language that we used, with the goal of ensuring the DOE could follow our narrative and our recommendations. We also finalized a number of large-scale diagrams illustrating the journeys through the admissions process taken by some of the parents, students, and counselors we spoke with.
On presentation day, we printed our hard-copy user-journey posters and did a final walkthrough of the presentation. Then we went to DOE headquarters at Tweed and presented to the to leadership and staff from the DOE’s Office of Student Enrollment and the iZone.
Week 8: Why
Fellow Raj Kottamasu presents findings.
Presenting findings is a delicate moment in a public service design project. For the value of the work to come through, the presentation must illustrate that the ideas are well grounded in user-centered design research, that the team has meaningful insights that interest or even challenge the partner, and that the recommendations are both socially relevant and financially, technologically, and politically actionable.
When done well, a findings presentation is not unlike a performance. The presentation’s narrative, the aesthetic of its visuals, and the credibility of the presenters work together to demonstrate the value of the findings. Knowledge of the public partner’s needs and operations must also come through. Finally, the team must be able to respond cogently to queries about the process and the recommendations.
The reception to our presentation was generally positive, with the lead-off question from OSE leadership focused on the “how” of subsequent implementation – always a better sign than immediate skepticism about methods or insights. (Though we also had a few questions of that kind as the Q&A went on!)
We wrapped up with a promise to deliver an expanded an annotated version of our findings, what we call our project ‘storybook,’ the creation of which would take place during Week 9, our final week of team sessions.