For our third challenge of the 2021-2022 program year, we were excited to partner with Brilliant Detroit, a nonprofit dedicated to building kid success families and neighborhoods where families with children 0-8 have what they need to be school ready, healthy and stable. Eight teams of Fellows worked collaboratively with Brilliant Detroit staff and community stakeholders to deliver this project – learn more from the perspective of each team! 

During this Challenge Project, we worked with Brilliant Detroit, a fantastic organization which builds “Kid Success Neighborhoods” across the city. The Internal Dashboard Utilization team was tasked with creating internal usage processes for Brilliant Detroit’s dashboard, with only one catch: the dashboard was being built as we worked! Working alongside our colleagues was a unique challenge, and it required innovative thinking and collaboration.

Our Design Thinking process was productive; the process was no longer fully new to us, and we had some experience working with different partners on our first two projects. Following the Design Thinking framework, we started with getting to know Brilliant Detroit and conducting empathy interviews. We were grateful that our stakeholders were very involved and connected us to great resources during this “empathy” stage! Cindy and Emma, along with other stakeholders, had a clear vision for Brilliant Detroit and the dashboard utilization. One stakeholder explanation that helped our team understand the purpose of the dashboard was, “[the dashboard] is our glance at how kids are doing in the neighborhood.” Our stakeholders and partners were the highlight of our Design Thinking process, and we kept coming back to them at every step to push our project forward and challenge our team to innovate further.

At the end of the project, we delivered a training toolkit and training recommendations. One specific recommendation we made was for a training feedback loop which would send short surveys after a training session, to measure employee understanding and comfort with the subject material. We suggested this because, during stakeholder interviews, we often heard that Brilliant Detroit’s team has a varying level of familiarity with technology. In addition, the dashboard would be new for just about everyone at Brilliant Detroit. To conclude, we would like to refer back to a quote heard during stakeholder interviews: “[Data asks] ‘how are we doing?’ which is static, but also ‘where are we, and where can we go?’ which moves forward.” We are excited to have helped with this project, and we hope that our suggestions can help Brilliant Detroit to move forward.