In the past few weeks, we learned about service design and what makes good service design. During the summer, I worked as an Orientation Leader at The New School, where during training and Orientation Week I developed teamwork, leadership, and facilitation skills. In Collab: Service Design, I see the connection between the skills required as an OL and the skills required to create service design. There is a lot that goes into service design than just participation and collaboration. We must also acknowledge the infrastructures in place and also the power dynamics.
I found power to be an interesting concept in terms of service design. It’s important as a class to check our privilege and power, as being college students working together with high school students can create some tension, because in some aspects we might believe we know better because we’re older, but in reality, the high school students are the experts of their community. Also, the majority of our class is white or white passing, so those with historical privilege must acknowledge that privilege and step back if necessary. I only bring this up because in the first class, while discussing Body + Soul, a member of my group who was not from the US was confused why the Black Panther were even trying to empower patients, so I tried to explain to them that historically, black Americans, especially black women, are not listened to my medical professionals therefore don’t get the healthcare they need. However, while trying to explain this, two other members of my group, both white or white passing, interrupted me and spoke about their own experiences with the doctors, like how the doctors would accidentally prescribe the wrong medication to them. As much as I believe that it’s important to hear everyone’s perspective, the way they interrupted my explanation and talked about their own experiences made it seem like they were trying to undermine the fact that the issue was about race. However, the class as a whole seems very eager to learn and grow as designers, so I feel like this experience with WHEELS will be a productive learning experience.
I’m looking forwards to working with WHEELS. At the moment I don’t really have a lot of questions or ideas yet because I want to hear their perspective on the issue that they see. However, I do know of programs in Boston that my friends are a part of that are meant to alleviate insecurity and anxiety for first generation and low income students that have supported my friends well, so I will bring up the concepts of these programs to WHEELS.