Managing a 10-week social innovation project at SAP

  • Role: Project Lead

  • Time: Summer of 2014

Project Shelter was a service design project based in SAP’s Design & Co-Innovation Center exploring ways to impact SF Bay Area homelessness.

I led the team through a 10-week rapid design sprint, from initial ethnographic research to prototyping and wire-framing our solution. Our research focused on understanding and defining the experiences and needs of case managers, “good samaritans,” and San Francisco citizens that identified as homeless and leveraged resources in localized homeless shelters.

We conducted several in-depth interviews at local homeless shelters to understand the needs of case managers and clients.

These included emergency shelters, transitional housing facilities, family housing units, and more. I helped to coordinate, prepare for (interview guides, research, and other materials), and run the interview sessions for our team. I also synthesized our learnings about various case managers’ needs, tasks, tools, emotional journey maps, etc. into succinct graphics that we could leverage.

We surfaced 3 key insights and opportunity areas for design.

They related to (1) data collection and accuracy, (2) communication between case managers, clients, and job/opportunity databases, and (3) proper allocation and navigation of resources available to consumers. Together we then prioritized two distinct areas of the case manager’s experience to further explore and develop in our design process: the first-time intake process, and the search for resources. 

We also defined our objective more concretely—to empower “Ramona Turan,” an experienced Case Manager at an emergency shelter in the Bay Area, to connect her clients with the resources they need from the moment they step into the shelter.

Journey-mapping each experience enabled our team to zero in on the moments that matter most.

What began as a messy white-board exploration, I later evolved into cleaner graphics (via Adobe Illustrator) that we could share with our extended team at SAP for their feedback and insights.

Finally, we brainstormed an array of concepts and sketched storyboards + initial wire-frames for a potential solution.

For example, one of our ideas leveraged gamification and play principles to turn the case manager’s experience into a more rewarding and motivating process. Our ideas also related to iPad apps and dashboards; calendar plug-ins; client profiles; and intuitive goal-setting timelines.

Gamification Principle Ideation

Goal Sheet Ideation

Screen Flow

Process Map