Collaboration and design at Frontend Bootcamp

Migrant project with Frontend/IOM

For three days this week, I had the pleasure of being part of a collaboration between Frontend – a UX Design Consultancy based in Dublin and The International Organisation for Migration – IOMJohn Buckley from Frontend, organised the bootcamp event – kudos to John!

I, along with two other MA students from  plus seven other MA in Interaction Design students from around Ireland, were selected to take part in a three day long design bootcamp.  I saw this as an extremely valuable opportunity to work on a very meaningful project, with real social impact.

Having listened to the story of a Syrian family’s journey by foot to Germany, I was engulfed with a sense of empathy, and compassion. In my younger years I had the experience of hitch-hiking around various parts of Europe.  I was immediately brought back to memories of ‘being on the road’ and all the feelings of being reliant on the generosity of other people. It’s one thing having a choice to do something but it’s an entirely different scenario when one is forced to flee their home, like the Syrians.

Design Task

Within a group of ten designers, we formed four groups working collaboratively to tackle various aspects of the problem, to arrive at solutions encompassing Service Design, Information Design, An App or Website, along with a Product Design solution.   Our broad task was to design a health pack for the physical well being of the migrants, and to direct information to IOM and the Aid Workers via an online solution. The problem required a systems thinking approach, one which would connect all the facets of the situation.

Mind Map

With emotion and empathy deeply ingrained, I began looking at the problem from the perspectives of the Migrant, The IOM and the Aid Workers. What follows is my first initial conceptual mind-map on the problem, which informed the service design team’s thinking on the problem.Mind Map




As with all complex problems, initial thoughts always begin with looking at the problem holistically. In this case it was the interactions between the Migrants, the Aid Workers and the IOM, and how an online solution could narrow the gaps of communication between all impacted by the problem, and ultimately help provide some form of aid to the migrants. (Red coloured infographic compliments of the service design team).

My heart goes out to the migrants, hopefully our involvement is the start of something that can really make a difference.