Heavy rains along the Front Range in Colo. produced "unprecedented" flooding that left at least eight people dead earlier this month. The damage is expected to cost about $2 billion, according to some estimates. While the headlines are dominated with news of the government shutdown, the recovery in Colorado continues although the Associated Press reports that the shutdown could hurt those efforts.
Recovers.org CEO Caitria O'Neill started orientation as a Stanford d.school fellow on Sept. 3. After news of the floods broke, she split her time between orientation and the Recovers site dedicated to the devastating floods. She and her team have been posting regularly on recovery updates, flood victims' needs and available resources. I asked Caitria how, if at all, her introduction to design thinking changed her approach to managing Recovers's Colorado disaster response. Here's what she had to say:
During the fellowship orientation we participated in a day-long design prototyping project. This was the first project I have worked on in over two years that wasn't 'mine'. I found I had enough distance from the subject matter to explore more innovative solutions to the problem at hand (designing a 'new city' experience for visitors).
Juxtapose this experience with our team launching software for Colorado flood response. We've invested in tools, a deployment plan, even the language we use to describe our service. I'm close to the subject matter - obviously. But even one day of structure, language, and permission to explore made a difference.
Instead of seeing friction as a barrier or mistake, it can be a road sign. My team is working on asking deeper questions during this deployment than we have been previously. Not, "how can we make this software easier for you to use?". Rather, "how do you organize, and what's missing?".