APPROACH AND METHODOLOGY
Insight Labs will convene two groups of senior and experienced professionals to de-construct and re-construct the economics related to digital music: experts in the music industry and user-experience designers (also known as UX designers). Insight Labs will work in consultation with public officials, community groups and non-profit organizations most familiar with pressing needs in New Orleans and with an established non-profit organization with expertise and experience in addressing these social challenges. Insight Labs will be responsible for all activities related to the design and development of partnerships that will inform and, ideally, implement the designed solutions.
This effort is the only such program to leverage the unique skills and perspectives of UX designers to solve social challenges. UX designers are systemic thinkers who most often work at the intersection of people and technology. As such, they depend heavily on anthropological research in developing solutions that best address the needs of end-users - in this case, musicians and their families in need.
UX for Good is an extension of Insight Labs' more traditional work, in which strategists from all sectors are convened to tackle intractable challenges - typically related to models for organizations in the philanthropic sector. First, the UX designers - all among the most experienced in the field - will conduct two days of field research in New Orleans, through: site visits in communities of need, interviews with experts in the social challenges and interviews with experts in the music communities. Second, the UX designers will work in two teams to apply their findings to novel models for addressing the chosen challenges, which will be handed off to an experienced organization. Third, the UX designers will conduct a free day-long workshop on user experience - seeking to address the current dearth of UX designers in the New Orleans market.
IMPLEMENTATION, TIMELINE, AND DELIVERABLES
The centerpiece of this commitment is a 3-day design event in New Orleans on May 2, 3 and 4, 2012. Efforts in advance of that event (January 2012 through April 2012) include: a) identification of the appropriate social challenges to be addressed; b) identification and forming of partnerships with organizations with expertise and experience in addressing those challenges; c) recruitment of top UX designers from across the U.S.; and d) organization of the 3-day event, including scheduling site visits in communities of need, interviews with experts in the social challenges and interviews with experts in the jazz and larger music communities. Efforts during that event (May 2012) will include a) facilitation of site visits and expert interviews; and b) facilitation of day-long user experience workshop. Efforts after the event (May 2012 through September 2012) will include a) ensuring the successful integration of the UX designers' work into the chosen partner organization; and b) the public distribution of models developed and lessons learned through the Insight Labs' various media channels. There will be two primary deliverables: first, the models developed by the designers; and second, the learning and best-practices captured throughout.
A number of critical social challenges face the music community in New Orleans. Within the music community, two populations are particularly affected: 1) musicians who could be self-supporting if the economic models related to the music industry were designed to help them support themselves, and 2) musicians and their families who have fallen on tough times and need additional social and financial support. This second population has been particularly hard hit in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
Music is a plentiful, almost natural resource in New Orleans and should be fully leveraged to address local social challenges. The musicians who play it, the businesses that support it, and the communities that embrace it are deeply invested in the health and welfare of the city, and are uniquely positioned to provide needed resources and to perpetuate the art form.
UX for Good designed three novel ways for New Orleans musicians to connect with the region's tourist economy to deliver the prosperity they deserve. Since these solutions were designed in conjunction with the Recording Academy, MusiCares, the Jazz and Heritage Foundation, and an array of local musicians, the solutions already have preliminary buy-in from the community. Partners who sign on to support these solutions could rapidly effect change in the city's cultural economy.