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  • 00:00

    [MUSIC PLAYING][Designing a Research Project, Greater Good Studio]

  • 00:11

    MARIS GARCIA: We have draft concept pages.Do you want to put more detail on that of justlike what it is that we're doing in that?You don't have to have it right away because weneed to do some of the interviews,but then collect them.Get someone in there to help.And then go from there.I'm Maris Garcia.I'm a design research lead at Greater Good Studio.[Maris Garcia, Design Research Lead] It's my job todo a lot of things.I get to do a lot of things.So I go from scoping a project, understanding

  • 00:33

    MARIS GARCIA [continued]: what a client is looking for.Often that we'll be discovered with a colleague willbe meeting with a client and they'll saywe want to work on this specific topicor figure out a solution to this problem.And then I'll work with that client to figure out, OK,what are the things that we're going to do to understand that?What's the research going to be?How does it work through the phases from researchand synthesis to design?

  • 00:54

    MARIS GARCIA [continued]: And then I lead the project and go do it.All right.So this is the process.We are mapping this out.So the initiative to understand what'sactually happening throughout all of our projects.We listed all the different activitiesthat we do throughout the processso that we can understand what everybody in the companyis trying to achieve.Do you want to do a little more in conceptingand see what's actually happening in that?

  • 01:14

    MARIS GARCIA [continued]: OK.We're always working on teams.We work in an environment where everything goes upon the walls.Where nothing is locked into your computer,but you're constantly sharing.And you always have a Sharpie in your hand.And you're getting your notes outso that it's, again, it's not stuck in your head.And you're not worried about doing something perfectly.So you're constantly learning, and working, and sharing,and getting information from teammates.

  • 01:36

    MARIS GARCIA [continued]: This whole board needs those blue notesto say what we're actually going to do about things.And then these other blue notes over here,we need to figure out who is doing what of these things.I assume a lot of these will be done by multiple team members.But just knowing who's supposed to do whatwill definitely help us.I studied architecture and psychology.I was always interested in design and people.

  • 01:56

    MARIS GARCIA [continued]: And when I studied that, those two thingswere completely separate.So there was no people besides the architects in architecture.And there was no design in the psychology work.And so I thought those were interesting things,but not related.Later, after I left college, I learnedabout a company that was doing research and using knowledge

  • 02:18

    MARIS GARCIA [continued]: from people to help inform design.And that was the first time I'd even knew that that existed.And so I was able to take things that Ihad done in my background that weren't necessarilyintentional to put me there, but those werethe things I was interested in.That really led to a career in that field.I learned a lot of skills workingin a for-profit company doing innovation consulting

  • 02:40

    MARIS GARCIA [continued]: and research methods.I had eight incredible years of learning and growing.I knew nothing when I walked in the doorand they really taught me everything.And throughout the time I was there,I started to become less passionate about the workI was doing.I was burning out.And I wasn't as passionate about the problems I was solving.In the beginning, they seemed more exciting to me.And after doing them so many times, I just--my heart wasn't in it anymore.

  • 03:01

    MARIS GARCIA [continued]: At one point, I got to work with foundations, and non-profits,and people in low income situations.And I realized that applying our design process and the researchmethods to that was a whole other world.And they actually needed help.A lot of the work I felt like I was doing in other placesjust wasn't as necessary.We were solving problems that maybe didn't really exist

  • 03:22

    MARIS GARCIA [continued]: or just trying to help clients make more money, which is good.I mean, that's a thing.But I was less interested in that.And so I was really lucky that I hada couple friends who started Greater Good Studio, whichwas applying this process of design, and research,and strategy to solving problems in the social sector.And so that exists now.And that's incredible.And I feel very lucky.

  • 03:44

    MARIS GARCIA [continued]: OneGoal is an organization, a nonprofitfocused on getting kids to graduate college.And the way that they do that is they help kids get into collegeand stay there.The students' junior year of high school,they have a program where they bring a teacher inor a teacher applies to be a OneGoal program director.And they recruit about 20 to 30 kids who

  • 04:05

    MARIS GARCIA [continued]: will be part of that program.That starts their junior year, and then goesinto their senior year, and then their freshman year of college.So OneGoal wanted to understand howare their teachers helping their students increase their gradesand their test scores.And so they have many, many teachersall over the country who are implementing their curriculumand who go through their training,and that's all the same.But some teachers have really incredible results

  • 04:27

    MARIS GARCIA [continued]: and they're saying, what is it that these teachers are doingto help their students improve?When we had our initial plan to the client,we-- we always create a proposal.And so we will say in that proposalall the things that we're going to do.The phase, there's the research phase.And so we always start by understandingwhat it is the client is doing and what they're thinking.And so we start with stakeholder interviews with them.

  • 04:47

    MARIS GARCIA [continued]: And then we share with them that weare-- how we're going to go find this informationand learn about their teachers and students.So in the proposal, we'll say here's who we want to talk to.Here's how we're going to talk to them.And we present that to them and get feedback.Sometimes they say, OK, that may work,or that may not work, or what about this?And so we go back and forth.And sometimes in the form of the proposal,

  • 05:08

    MARIS GARCIA [continued]: sometimes on a phone call, or in person,just to say this is what we think we want to do,how would this work for you?To research the problem, we firststarted by talking to OneGoal employees to say,what do you think is the solution to this project?A lot of our projects are very broadand they don't have a specific sort of yes/no answer.And this was a case where they reallywanted to know what is it that's motivating students

  • 05:31

    MARIS GARCIA [continued]: to increase their grades.And so we asked them.We said to the people at OneGoal who workedthere, what do you think it is?And we took in a ton of informationand then made sense of what we learned from them.And that then helped us go into the classroomsand talk to teachers, because we already knew what peoplethought might be the case.Hey, Taylor.

  • 05:49

    TAYLOR: Hi.

  • 05:50

    MARIS GARCIA: Do you have time to do the interview now?

  • 05:51

    TAYLOR: I do, yes.This is perfect.

  • 05:53

    MARIS GARCIA: So this part of the dayis when I go and interview the teacher.And so we just sat through class observationwhere I got to see how they teach a classand what the students are doing.And so now I get to go in and talk to the teacherand say, OK, tell me about what thatwas like from your perspective.And what happened today?And what's happened throughout this project?To see how these kids are progressingthrough the program.So OneGoal is interested in understanding

  • 06:14

    MARIS GARCIA [continued]: how teachers like you are helpingwith selectivity growth.They've been super inspired by you.Your kids have done an incredible job.And so we want to know what is it that you're doing.And what are you thinking about what as your teaching?We would first go and sit in their classroom.So we went to 13 teacher's classroomsand we observed them teaching this OneGoal class.And then after the observation, we

  • 06:35

    MARIS GARCIA [continued]: had a chance to speak with them one on one.Tell me about the beginning of the year.When you recruit these kids, you start the class,and what was it like when those student came in?

  • 06:44

    TAYLOR: The beginning of the year was really, really rough.I felt like a first year teacher in a struggling school.And I've been doing this for five years.Many of them just have a really hard time.They come in late.They are not engaged.They're on their phones.They're texting all the time.

  • 07:00

    MARIS GARCIA: So what did you do?How did things change?What did you do?

  • 07:04

    TAYLOR: One night, I just went homeand I started writing how I was feeling.How I felt about the kids, how I felt about the program, and howthey just weren't performing.And so the next day, I took my journal entryand I read it to the kids kind of as a speech.And I basically told them, number one,there's a lot of kids who are waiting to be in this program.

  • 07:26

    TAYLOR [continued]: So the fact that you're even hereis a super-- it's a huge privilegethat you're here to begin with.I just told them how much I cared about themand they just needed to pick it up.

  • 07:37

    MARIS GARCIA: How did they respond to that?

  • 07:40

    TAYLOR: Just being open about that Ithink has really touched a lot of themand made them want to perform better.I've seen a lot of their grades improve.They're coming to class on time.They're not on their phones as much.

  • 07:53

    MARIS GARCIA: We dig into these hypothesesthat we have that we had learned from stakeholders at OneGoaland our own assumptions in what we've been learning.And then we could kind of test those with them,and ask them questions, and probe on them.Our research methods definitely varydepending on the type of participants involved.So in this case, we were in a schooltrying to learn from teachers and students.And so we were trying to think of what's

  • 08:13

    MARIS GARCIA [continued]: the best way to do that.We always like to go in context and seewhat's really happening.And so that's why we did observations here,because we were looking to learn from teachersand their students.And then we followed up with an interviewso that we could go more in-depth to hearwhat was behind what the teachers were thinking.How do you celebrate success and show themthat you see the progress they're making?

  • 08:32

    TAYLOR: Yeah, this is my favorite part of the job.Even if it's just one, or two, or a couple of students,something I do for the kids who are improving and showingprogress is I will just have lunches for them.We just want to feel affirmed on how we're doing.And these kids I think need it so badly.And just to have that positivity and that encouragement,

  • 08:55

    TAYLOR [continued]: I think it helps keep them going.

  • 08:57

    MARIS GARCIA: We're working on a videoto share with the client to show themwhat the teachers themselves had to say.It's always more impactful to hear from someone--from the source themselves than for us to translate and say,the teacher said this.But if you actually can show the teacher saying that,it always has a lot more impact.So we're working on that right now as well.We also had a chance to interview studentswho've gone through the program.

  • 09:18

    MARIS GARCIA [continued]: And so we could then hear from them reflecting back,what was this like?So that was very appropriate for this kind of a project.We've done projects in the past in school cafeteriasand trying to help kids have a better lunchroom experience.And so one example of a research methodthere was to put a camera on a kid's head.

  • 09:38

    MARIS GARCIA [continued]: And so we have little GoPro cameraswith little kids going through the lunch lineto understand what's it like from their perspective.And so you always want to see whois it that you're trying to talk toand what makes the most sense to get the information that youneed.So the data that we gathered for this project with OneGoal,we learned so, so much.So our first step is that we transcribe the interview.

  • 09:58

    MARIS GARCIA [continued]: So the class observations that we had,we were just taking notes.So we got our notes together.And then for the interviews, we had somebody type up everythingthat was said in the interview.And then we actually take those notesand we highlight where the most important partsof that interview.And we translate those typed notes into like cards,cut them up, and then we paste them all over the walls.

  • 10:20

    MARIS GARCIA [continued]: And we start to say, what are the themes that we're seeing?What are the behaviors that the teachers are doing?And what are those different categories?So we can move all that data around.

  • 10:30

    SPEAKER 1: And this is how you wantto do the presentation areas is if you want to have them focuson this point or if you think it would be helpfulfor them to kind of always look back to the overall point.

  • 10:40

    MARIS GARCIA: We are trying to unpack that second point.And so we don't want to have too much informationon the page, which is why those things-- right?That's sort of why we've separated itin the first place.And we actually--We are editing the presentation for the workshop.And so this has been through many iterations.We're going through and making sure we've got downwhat we want to say and that we're communicating itin the way that we'd like to.

  • 10:59

    SPEAKER 2: This slide looks exactly like this.This is my imitation of this.But then we keep it and then B disappears.And instead we just keep A and then have this text.So in other words, it's still kind of sub.

  • 11:11

    MARIS GARCIA: And then that conversation,that qualitative information that we received, becomes data.And so we can now take all those different piecesand start to sort them and say these are all about this theme,and these are all about this theme.And it doesn't matter which teacherand which interview, because now they're allsort of free to move around.And we can really start the analysis in that way.There is so much information.

  • 11:31

    MARIS GARCIA [continued]: We have 13 interviews, 13 observations, 20 hours of videothat we've collected that we need to then make sense of.So a lot of stuff that we learn is actually not critical.That's the first one.And then each one will repeat.We'll go from here's the theory, here's what students are doing,here is what teachers are doing to help them.How they're doing it these three different ways.

  • 11:54

    MARIS GARCIA [continued]: And then unpack each one of those ways.We're trying to sort what did we learn,what do we do about that, what's the most important.And so a lot of the stuff that we take inthat we learn and we sort, we actuallyend up not using because it doesn't matter.You get that first round all those notes upand the categories.And then we bring the client in.And we share with them, here's what we learned.

  • 12:14

    MARIS GARCIA [continued]: Here are the big categories.Here are the specific details.What do you think?Do these things seem to be the most important to you?And we sort of go through this iteration back and forth.We keep sort of filtering down that all these things we thinkare interesting and important.And then you kind of keep narrowing down and say like,OK.It's actually this.And in this project, we actually had another roundof research, which was really wonderful, where

  • 12:34

    MARIS GARCIA [continued]: we got to take what we thought was happeningand sort of go back out into the field and meet with teachers.And even share with them what we had learned,and say, we think that this is really important.What do you think?And then they were able to help give us feedback and say like,yeah that is really key.And this, maybe not as much.During the workshop, we will workon solutions for this challenge and what

  • 12:55

    MARIS GARCIA [continued]: we're trying to accomplish.There are a few main areas that we know that OneGoal can easilyimplement through.And so one of those is curriculum.They create a curriculum that theyshare with all their teachers.And so we're thinking about ideasthat can get worked into the curriculumso that teachers will directly just teachthose things to their students.OneGoal trains all their teachers.So we're thinking about what are ideas

  • 13:15

    MARIS GARCIA [continued]: that we have that can work into the trainingthat they provide for their teachers and program directors.There's also coaching that happens.All the teachers meet with people at OneGoal.And so there is, again, ideas thatcan happen at a coaching level.So we're looking at all the challengesthat we know, all the good things that are happening,and how we can work those ideas into thingsthat-- systems that already exist within the organization.

  • 13:37

    MARIS GARCIA [continued]: And then also think of things thatmaybe don't exist right now that we can create to help them.


Maris Garcia describes her work with Greater Good Studio. She highlights the work her organization is doing with OneGoal to help more kids attend and complete college. Garcia uses classroom observation and interviews to determine what is working to motivate students.

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Designing a Research Project: Greater Good Studio

Maris Garcia describes her work with Greater Good Studio. She highlights the work her organization is doing with OneGoal to help more kids attend and complete college. Garcia uses classroom observation and interviews to determine what is working to motivate students.

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