10 Weeks. 3 Students. 1 streamline process to deliver data for natural disaster relief.

Quick Summary


Add technology to existing processes to improve natural disaster relief while understanding key stakeholders and resource distribution of FEMA and non-profit organizations.

My Role

The Team

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In the beginning of the project, I played a key role in actively seeking out organizations to interview, conducting the interviews, synthesizing results, and making connections with our secondary research. I enforced the backbone process and understanding of the stakeholders involved with our focus, the Volunteer Reception Center. Because of my depth of knowledge on the process, I created the blueprint, intended service provider and user map, personas, key performance indicators for our dashboard, and several graphics on the dashboard.

project Overview

The process


This initial interview set the foundation for our project and became a critical asset throughout the process. Having this connection with the United Way Volunteer Director, Jim Keedy, and VP of Marketing, Lisa Clark, allowed us to understand what volunteering in Coastal Empire looks like and helped us to identify possible opportunity spaces.

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From our primary and secondary research we realized that United Way prefers to have volunteers sign up before the natural disaster hits to accommodate resources such as water, food, etc. for volunteers. However, in a time of need many people from local areas come to help and it is not kosher to turn away people who want to help.


From this exercise we were able to see different trends occurring in different service sectors and make connections. By doing this we were able to create overarching trends based on micro trends within each sector. Our overarching trends were balanced volunteerism and ownership of autonomy.


The trend analysis allowed us to gain a deeper understanding of the service economy and social trends. When doing the exercise we recognized that we wanted to focus mostly on volunteers’ ownership of autonomy but also create a more balanced volunteer force as well.


We recognized that there was a gap in the transferring of Informal Volunteers to Formal Volunteers. The check-in process at the Volunteer Reception Center (VRC) and on the spot training was not as extensive or efficient as it could be. In addition, volunteers’ skills were not being used to the fullest extent.


By looking into different technologies such as VR, AR, and MR we could see that only AR and MR could work for a volunteer working in the field helping with the natural disaster relief.


After researching different hardware, we decided Google Glass presented features that best fit the opportunity space. With any hardware comes challenges, but recognizing these challenges we added battery and thoughtful cost distribution into our service.


This diagram illustrates how the implementation of Google Glass will help the volunteer in time of need as well as record the damage the volunteer is seeing to help long term relief organizations such as FEMA and the Red Cross.


Understanding the tasks that are distributed by United Way and CEMA to volunteers helped us to narrow down which groups of volunteers should receive the hardware to augment their skill set.


Mapping out the volunteer’s experience allowed us to gain a deeper understanding of the problems and opportunities within. After this, we developed a more extensive blueprint which allowed us to zoom out and see the big picture.


Mapping out the key stakeholder organizations helps us to understand who exactly is involved in the future process of natural disaster relief.

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Creating this map allowed us to see how the organizations in this ecosystem work together. We also realized while that an organization that could fund the hardware was missing. The organization that funds the hardware could become more popular in the public eye by doing social good. This is where Google came into play.

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The personas developed directly from our primary research gave us a snapshot into what kind of key performance indicators should be on each dashboard for management and volunteers.

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The process of establishing strategic goals allowed us to reevaluate our project and make sure our goals were aligning with our plans for the service execution. By doing so our project became stronger and more likely to succeed in the real world by being able to quantify our success.


After creating the key performance indicator dashboard we realized there was an opportunity to add features where management, United Way or CEMA, could view full reports, history, and alerts as well. This allows for a more comprehensive management experience.

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A special thank you to United Way for allowing us to do our primary research on the organization. Having access to such a great non-profit to center our project around made our passions for service design elevate even more to solve real world issues. We appreciated the opportunity to present our project to the CEO and her colleagues. Our project helped impact the future of the organization in many ways. Although, the idea of Google donating equipment specifically to the Coastal Empire seemed a bit out of reach, many of our other ideas such as creating a volunteer dashboard to quantify results resonated well with United Way.