When we talk about needs, it’s about helping people recognise the issues with their lives or society.
1. What we feel is wrong
In some cases, recognising what’s wrong is understanding the world as it is and the world as you’d like it to be. For London Citizens, this approach helps show people how to create a purpose for their community to organise.
What we’ve done that’s wrong is also about recognising our mistakes. “We need a waste. It’s an essential part of experimentation. Without trial and error, you won’t get anywhere.” (@amandagore @lizzieostrom) From Cock Up Cocktails (@sidekickstudios) to @failcamp, “lots of cock-ups come when you miss contextual or cultural awareness.”
2. What we see that’s wrong
Putting the spotlight on the societal gaps is a powerful way to create disruption — from uncovering unmet needs, mapping crises and responses to them, and mapping unused assets to exposing the black box of power structures such as Wikileaks. Mapping unmet needs right at the start of my career has shaped my thinking ever since (as well as a better grasp of uphill dairy farming!).
If there has been a tool that has helped report crises and solutions to the recovery, it’s been the map. That’s why it’s incredible how Ushahidi has developed, providing social and digital infrastructure. But a geographical map also includes information about the mental maps and cultural assumptions of the people who made it.
This is why prototypes like Moodmap or Mappiness are so important, particularly in crises such as riots. They show live updates from people about how they feel about what’s happening in their local neighbourhood. So as well as understanding unmet needs, how can we better map unspoken feelings?