Recognizing some of the Design Problems to be tackled

March 5, 2010
By George_Bixby

At the moment, my interest seems to be gravitating toward the following areas:

Re. Nigel’s post about Phebean Cole and the initiative to spread the IHL curriculum, I think this problem could potentially be very interesting. However, rather than just focusing on the marketing campaign for the curriculum (all of the challenges listed deal with marketing), I’d be interested in evaluating the curriculum itself and designing new ways of communicating the content (games, events, etc.) that will both make it a more dynamic learning tool and possibly more appealing to educators (Of course, I haven’t seen the curriculum yet so this is purely speculative). I think this could be a great chance to collaborate with education students, current grade school teachers and game designers.

“Developing a system of aggregated knowledge generated by volunteers” (quoted from Mathan) and others with local or specialized knowledge. I’d be interested in whether there was the potential for such a system/database/publication/mapping etc. to communicate useful information (possibly with early warning education in mind), as well as the potential for the development of this interface to be imagined as a collaborative experience that both creates a deeper engagement with the RC and allows participants to find new forms of collaboration. I have to admit that while this problem seems both interesting and challenging, I don’t know exactly where to start.

Last but not least is the least clearly defined area for me, but one that seems like it could benefit from attention. A few students including myself have observed instances where the Red Cross was not doing all that they can to communicate either what their role, mission, or current disaster response efforts were. Maybe those are three completely different projects, or maybe they are all things that can be addressed through similar means (or can at least be thought about in a singular way). As Nigel had mentioned in a recent post, it’s not that the RC doesn’t make that information available, but maybe its not being communicated effectively.

I also really liked Kelly’s proposal for the Red Cross Hotel. It may or may not be more than we could address right now, but I appreciate how it aims to transform multiple problems (affordable temporary housing, etc.) into multiple opportunities (education, community outreach, etc). I think it would be great to keep this kind of thinking in mind as we begin narrowing the scope of what we hope to address, because even if they are seemingly unrelated issues there could be a creative design solution that bridges the two.

3 Responses to “ Recognizing some of the Design Problems to be tackled ”

  1. Christopher Lamb on March 5, 2010 at 1:02 pm

    This is interesting – I provide advice to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) on some Emblem and Name usage issues, and would be happy to learn the background to this discussion. It’s possible that the writers aren’t aware of the wide range of actions being taken by Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in other countries on all this, or about the work of the IFRC and the parallel organisationn the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), including through much more use of social networking. There are also a number of countries where Ministries of Education include IHL in school curricula as well.

  2. pablo on March 11, 2010 at 10:18 am

    Dear Chris,
    Greetings! This is Pablo Suarez from the RC/RC Climate Centre – great to know you found this blog and took the time to contribute (Thanks!).
    My two words on background: a friend at the Parsons School for Design mentioned they want to engage in humanitarian issues, I connected them to American RC (including Nan Buzard, Nicole Mlade and others in headquarters, plus Scott at NY office), and a collaboration started whereby Parsons students were invited to sign up for a RedCross-centric design course. NY branch offered to invite students to ride along with their staff and volunteers to learn more about problems and opportunities (in order to identify concrete student projects). This blog is the space where Parsons folks share insights.
    I’ll introduce you to the key people, in case you have the time to offer informal advice to students supporting AmRC on hopw to improve IHL in American school system.
    All the best,


  3. Christopher Lamb on March 14, 2010 at 6:39 am

    Pablo my friend, this is great, and I have replied separately to your e-mail, with copies to the others (several of whom are already good friends). Thanks again, and I would be very happy to help achieve this fine ideal – not just in the US, either.