One-line solution summary:
Concord is a casual location-based audio app with augmented reality features showcasing authentic, diverse stories from local storytellers.
Pitch your solution.
Concord’s ultimate goals are to humanize our community members, nurture oral traditions, and challenge perpetuated stereotypes.
The project was led with keeping engagement and real-life experience at the forefront of every decision to ensure users utilize the app and not let it become the forgotten app that eventually gets deleted to free up storage.
If there is one main takeaway from the project is the simple call-to-action to listen and broaden understanding of people and place.
This concept is also backed by cultural lifeways of traditional oral storytelling that many Indigenous tribes still uphold to this day. It’s an age-old tradition intersecting with modern technology to promote the wellbeing of our communities and its BIPOC members.
What specific problem are you solving?
In the United States, the pandemic exposed racial inequities and sparked attacks on minorities, including the Black, Asian, and Pacific Islander communities. But racial discrimination is a global problem. One of the barriers to reducing inequality is how some people justify and rationalize it.
We found that 62.5% of BIPOC people don’t feel safe as a minority. They often “keep a low profile”, “take as little space as possible”, and “always have a phone ready” when in public alone.
Should minorities continue to feel they need to shrink themselves in order to be safe members of the community? How can we start to elevate their voices and empower them to stand out while countering unconscious bias deeply rooted in our communities?
What is your solution?
Taking into consideration the research insight of “allies are becoming more aware of racial injustice through listening or herd mentality”, it was vital that our concept focused on ensuring quick, easy access and the ability to share diverse stories.
Concord uses geolocation to place shared stories either as a map-based audio clip or an AR object with an audio clip.
- Map-Based AR Objects
- Audio Stories
The Goals of Concord
- …humanize community members…
- …nurture cultural oral traditions…
- …strengthen the connection to place…
- …educate each other from the first-hand experience versus perpetuated stereotypes…
- …provide easy access to hear diverse perspectives…
- …form connections and understanding within a community…
- …encourage active listening without social validation or gamification…
Strong preference will be given to Native-led solutions that directly benefit and are located within the Indigenous communities. Which community(s) does your solution benefit?
The target audience is BIPOC members.
Although, there is a strong focus on Indigenous communities just because it's in the realm of decolonizing and breaking down racial stereotypes. I am engaging in research and talking directly to community members to allow the removal of my own personal bias despite being a queer, Indigenous woman.
This solution solves the need of doing whatever we can to break down stereotypes and build bridges for cultural understanding to put an end to racial injustice and microaggressions.
Which dimension of the Fellowship does your solution most closely address?Other
Explain how the problem you are addressing, the solution you have designed, and the population you are serving align with the Challenge.
Our solution benefits Indigenous communities across Turtle Island and beyond.
This solution will help raise awareness and allow for our voices and stories to be heard.
Concord was created for the use of the general population as a way to listen and share diverse stories from people and those who have lived in places for generations. Concord not only aims to secure power in place but also to allow others to share their stories to break down stereotypes that often lead to racial injustice. Sharing our stories or at least getting them out can help to educate and also provide a place for us to just release our experiences and share our ties to the places we occupy.
‘Storytelling respects and honours people while simultaneously documenting their reality’ (Qwul’sih’yah’maht quoted in Jeff Corntassel, Chaw-win-is, and T’lakwadzi, ‘Indigenous Storytelling’, 147.)
In what city, town, or region is your solution team headquartered?Albuquerque, NM, USA
What is your solution’s stage of development?Prototype: A venture or organization building and testing its product, service, or business model.
Explain why you selected this stage of development for your solution.
I am a recent User Experience Design graduate from General Assembly and I've researched with a former cohort member to address the problem of racial inequity and injustice. We have used our recent knowledge and skillset to build an mobile app prototype.
Who is the Team Lead for your solution?
Please indicate the tribal affiliation of your primary delegate.
Is your primary delegate a member of the community in which your project is based?Yes
Which of the following categories best describes your solution?A new application of an existing technology
Describe what makes your solution innovative?
It's innovative in the way we interact and use AR to provide an extra layer of reality to the existing stories that are being created within our BIPOC communities.
Describe the core technology that powers your solution.
This mobile app will be map-based with the ability to geotag an AR object on a building/location attached to an audio clip. The ability to allow for users to also see what ancestral homelands they occupy would be awesome, so access to an existing database or building of a new one would be ideal.
Provide evidence that this technology works. Please cite your sources.
This technology is in play currently as existing apps like Clubhouse and Pokemon Go.
Please select the technologies currently used in your solution:
Does this technology introduce any risks? How are you addressing or mitigating these risks in your solution?
The risk would be the usual trolls that could come in and add spam content, but security and other measures will have to come into play. Furthermore, protecting the privacy of content creators, et al. has been in mind. Educating our users would be ideal - provide onboarding to address these issues is necessary.
What is your theory of change?
We live in a settler-colonial world and even after centuries have gone by, many Indigenous groups still feel the effects. Providing an easy way for many to face this concept is a step closer to decolonizing and opening up to reimagining our world. Sharing our stories and listening to others is the only way to come together. Sometimes it's easier through an app than in person.
I recently read the article by Katie Boudreau Morris (2017) Decolonizing solidarity: cultivating relationships of discomfort, Settler Colonial Studies, 7:4, 456-473, DOI: 10.1080/2201473X.2016.1241210 which lead to a few questions that we must ask ourselves:
‘Who am I? What are my relationships with my communities? What are my relationships with the land I live on?’
It's through these questions that a decolonizing solidarity framework is set up to allow for us to heal and break down the stereotypes that often lead to racial injustice.
Select the key characteristics of your target population.
Which of the UN Sustainable Development Goals does your solution address?
In which state(s) do you currently operate?
In which state(s) will you be operating within the next year?
How many people does your solution currently serve? How many will it serve in one year? In five years?
We aim for the general population but with an emphasis on BIPOC community members. The goal is to start small and build and implement in other areas.
What are your impact goals for the next year and the next five years, and -- importantly -- how will you achieve them?
The goal is to make our prototype a working app and conduct usability tests in the next year. In five years, hopefully, the app is showing positive results.
How are you measuring your progress toward your impact goals?
Doing some research before the app launches and following up with users throughout development will help provide the data we need to see results as the information comes in. Being able to parse and synthesize the data will give a starting point and see if experiences of racial inequalities have decreased over time.
What barriers currently exist for you to accomplish your goals in the next year and in the next five years?
Technical, legal, and financial are the current barriers.
Coding a functional app from a prototype is an obstacle but not a dead end. It will take time to learn if capital isn't attained. The legal poses a problem, as it's always best to consult an expert on mitigating any potential legalities if any were to arise.
The market is a longer-term barrier. As Concord is a new product and hasn't been on the market so only time will tell how it will fair.
How do you plan to overcome these barriers?
A lot of faith and acting without fear is the biggest struggle, but my ability to learn and seek help will guide Concord through a lot of unknowns. Nothing great was ever built overnight and without many iterations. Design thinking is my greatest tool and listening to our users will help mitigate any problems.
What type of organization is your solution team?
For-profit, including B-Corp or similar models
How many people work on your solution team?
1 Full-Time, and co-founder, as needed. Contractors to build the app.
How long have you been working on your solution?
Why are you and your team well-positioned to deliver this solution?
Our team is recent graduates from a User Experience Design Immersive with 15 years of collective graphic design and product design experience.
Our UX knowledge has laid the foundation of understanding that we must listen to our users so the iterative design process is not influenced by our own biases or perspectives.
Vanessa Bowen is a Navajo artist and designer with a strong passion to uplift and empower her Indigenous community through art, design, and technology.
With these in mind, we are definitely well-positioned to make the prototype a reality and set up goals for the good of our communities.
What is your approach to building a diverse, equitable, and inclusive leadership team?
We are a woman-led and BIPOC team, Vanessa Bowen and Cynthia Hopper.
Bowen is Indigenous and Hopper is African-American and through our lived experiences as women of color, we make it a priority to have as much diversity, equity, and inclusion across the board.
Do you primarily provide products or services directly to individuals, to other organizations, or to the government?Organizations (B2B)
- Vanessa Bowen UX Designer, Bowen Creative LLC