As part of its Future Edge DFW initiative, Capital One hosted Texas’ first BarnRaise, a maker conference that marries concepts of design and functionality to help solve community problems.
The design-a-thon, which was organized by AdaptivePath.org, Capital One’s pro-bono design program, began Thursday and wrapped up Saturday at Capital One’s Plano campus.
Four companies paired with nonprofits to focus on different challenges that come along with Dallas-Fort Worth’s escalating population.
During the two-and-a-half day event, four companies paired with nonprofits to focus on different challenges that come along with Dallas-Fort Worth’s escalating population. Each challenge was specific to the nonprofit’s mission or objective.
Slalom collaborated with Uplift Education, projekt202 with Youth with Faces, Intuit with Big Thought, and Capital One with The Commit! Partnership.
The teams had the chance to develop prototypes for their solutions, said Anel Muller, head of AdaptivePath.org. The goal is to take these innovative ideas and put them into practice for the community’s benefit.
Design is an important component to innovation, Muller said. When people hear “design,” they think of logos and branding, but it’s much more than that. It involves service designers, action designers, visual designers, design researchers, and project managers.
The name, BarnRaise, came from the tradition of how people from a community would come together for the greater good … People of all ages and status had something to contribute.
The name, BarnRaise, came from the tradition of how people from a community would come together for the greater good and raise a barn, Muller said. People of all ages and status had something to contribute.
The first BarnRaise took place in 2014 at the IIT Institute of Design in Chicago.
In 2016, AdaptivePath.org organized a BarnRaise in San Francisco. About 80 percent of the ideas have been implemented or are in progress, Muller said.
“It’s really encouraging when you see that,” she said. “[Implementation] is so important, and I think for designers, it’s so gratifying to finally see something come to life.”
Part of the reason it works is because the goals are achievable and realistic, Muller said. The teams have clear goals and the necessary resources to achieve them.
Last weekend’s event was part of Capital One’s Future Edge DFW initiative to provide resources, tools, and funding to further develop DFW as hub for technology, innovation, and talent, according to the company.
In collaboration with the Institute for the Future, the company released a study in January titled, “DFW 2026: Igniting Economic and Cultural Prosperity in North Texas.” The data outlined forecasts of conditions in the region’s technological, workforce, and demographic landscape in the coming years.
It’s said the number of DFW residents may double in the next decade.
“This report was really commissioned to look at what are the trends in the DFW workforce over the next decade and what are the skill gaps and capabilities that we need to build to help the DFW metroplex thrive and prosper in a digital economy,” said Karen Stroup, senior vice president of The Garage, Capital One’s innovation center.
One of the key challenges identified was the issue of population growth, she said. It’s said the number of DFW residents may double in the next decade.
The main concern is to help DFW leaders figure out ways to “bridge the gap to provide systems and experiences that support the growth of individuals and communities, especially those who are underprivileged or struggling,” Muller said.
Here’s a look at each project:
SLALOM + UPLIFT EDUCATION
Designers from consulting firm Slalom worked with North Texas charter school network Uplift Education to examine ways to improve parent engagement at Uplift schools, to empower families to be advocates for their child and their school.
The team came up with a plan for a multichannel engagement campaign to help improve communication between teachers and families, including a poster design, email, microsite, and SMS templates, and communication plan to keep families updated on students’ academic performance and behavior as well as some calendar links and tips for academic success.
CAPITAL ONE + THE COMMIT! PARTNERSHIP
Capital One designers collaborated with Commit!, which unites more than 200 area organizations “to drive student achievement throughout Dallas County from cradle to career.” They presented their idea of how to maintain or increase enrollment of 4,000 Dallas ISD children in quality pre-K programs.
The team aimed to reach uninformed families and households on peripheral channels, to help in the enrollment process and unify district registration requirements. They also came up with a system to match families to appropriate schools that meet their needs.
PROJEKT202 + YOUTHS WITH FACES
Youths with Faces is a nonprofit that works with incarcerated youths. Together with software design and development company projekt202, they came up with the business model for a catering business that would uplift and empower girls in juvenile facilities.
Dubbed Mad Skills Kitchen, the business would pay these incarcerated girls minimum wage and allow them to work, catering to local businesses and facilitating their reintegration into society.
INTUIT + BIG THOUGHT
Financial software company Intuit collaborated with Dallas education nonprofit Big Thought to create an online platform to express their creativity and connect with the right people. The website, wetheperson.org, went live. On it, users may share original articles, videos, photos, illustrations, or audio content.