TEAMBUILDING AMERICA: A DECLARATION OF INTERDEPENDENCE
Countering social and political polarization in the United States through design and team building.
Master's Thesis (MFA in Products of Design).
Project advisor: Allan Chochinov
Teambuilding America was a yearlong research and design project to address growing polarization in the United States. Drawing from my background facilitating group development and personal growth experiences, I chose to model the problem as a team-building challenge. An intensive research and synthesis period led me to develop an ecosystem of thirteen design concepts for depolarization. A selection of concepts are shown below.
Final thesis presentation. SVA Theatre, NYC, 5.14.19
Video credit: School of Visual Arts
Teambuilding America thesis compendium
Interviews were a large part of the research process. I spoke with more than fifty experts working in design, politics, and organizational development. These experts came from across the United States and the political spectrum.
I also read books, political research studies, academic papers, news articles, opinion pieces, and social media threads. My commutes were filled with political podcasts, especially the Ezra Klein Show and the Science of Politics podcast.
Mapping the systems of social and political polarization revealed key driving forces and design opportunities.
Engage people who might not otherwise meet each other.
Help them accomplish something together.
Facilitate their development of a shared vision for the future.
SCALES OF INTERACTION
Fundamentally, healing from polarization comes down to repairing relationships at varying scales.
Synthesis from the interviews revealed four distinct scales of relationships and interactions, as well as opportunity spaces at each of those scales.