Mechanical Engineering

Pushing each other along

August 23, 2018

Though we work in the service industry for larger corporations on a day-to-day basis, some of my favorite opportunities come in the form of community work.

It offers more than a temporary connection to your immediate neighbors. It provides a path for empathy and understanding of those you pass every day on the sidewalk, allowing a chance to get past our first impressions and dig deeper into what makes our neighbors tick.

I recently had the opportunity to help design a push-bike for a local family’s 9-year-old son, Joseph, who has special needs through the Make-A-Wish Foundation. While I try to help as much as I can on any given project, I had added interest in this effort as a parent with a special needs child.

Our family has been given so much assistance from a variety of people and practitioners, this project was a small attempt to use my own expertise to give back. The biggest challenge for me during the design process was to temper that commonality, relinquish my preconceived notions of what this bike might be, and fall back on our process by listening to our user(s) and their specific needs.

At Design Concepts, we are generously given the opportunity for community outreach on a regular basis. We have repainted community centers, cleaned and prepped a public garden, created art installations for our local museum, and built a hand cycle for the University of Wisconsin’s Adaptive Sports program. The projects and programs vary greatly in required resources and time, but our design-led approach remains the same.

As designers, we are practiced in the art of finding unmet needs. We do this by first building empathy. We hold back on what we think we know and immerse ourselves in the experiences of the user. This was true with Joseph’s bike.

We hold back on what we think we know and immerse ourselves in the experiences of the user.

Let’s talk about how we can help move your business forward.

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