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Timeline: 15 Weeks

Social Connect is a service designed to revolutionize the way we engage and connect in the digital era. As our world becomes increasingly interconnected, the need for meaningful social interactions is more crucial than ever.

Project Completion: May 2024

Introduction:

A survey by Cigna shows nearly 1 in 6 Americans reported feeling lonely or isolated. That means these conditions likely affect either you or someone you know. Social connectedness is on a decline since the past 20 years

SOURCE: Solving the country’s loneliness crisis would make Americans healthier, fitter and less likely to abuse drugs

BYCLAY MARSH AND THE CONVERSATION, July 15, 2023

The Brief:

Social interaction is a basic human need, just like food and water and so, how might we foster Social Interaction amongst individuals.

Solution

We are solving for Social Connectedness by developing effective and accessible means of communication that allow individuals to maintain social connection, access necessary support, and combat the negative effects of isolation.

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Understanding the Problem

01

We are Solving for Social Isolation

02

How we are solving for it.

A survey by Cigna shows nearly 1 in 6 Americans reported feeling lonely or isolated. That means these conditions likely affect either you or someone you know.

SOURCE: Solving the country’s loneliness crisis would make Americans healthier, fitter and less likely to abuse drugs
BYCLAY MARSH AND THE CONVERSATION, July 15, 2023

By developing effective and accessible means of communication that allow individuals to maintain social connection, access necessary support, and combat the negative effects of isolation.

03

What is Social Interaction

“Social interaction is a basic human need, just like food and water”

SOURCE: Rebecca Saxe, Neuroscientist, MIT

04

Why are we solving this

50% U.S. adults report experiencing loneliness.

Lacking social connection can increase the risk for premature death as much as smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day 

Initial Research

  • Read approx 420 articles

  • 4 weeks, 36 hours of Desk Research

  • 40+ Research papers

  • 5+ hours of videos

  • Attended 2 seminars

  • Factors that led us to solving for social isolation

  •  Numbers that support our objective

  • Factors that shape Social Connection in Individuals and Community

  • Shifts in Social Connection: Pre-pandemic, Pandemic and Post-pandemic

  • Insights from Literature Review

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We identified six factors that affect a social setting of an Individual

01

Loneliness

Loneliness is highest among young adults & lower-income households. Being married or having a domestic partner, lower the chances of experiencing loneliness.

03

Stigmatization

Stigmatization can have a devastating impact on individuals, leading to social isolation and exclusion. This can contribute to the development of depression.

05

Depression

Percentage of adults in the US who stated they always or often felt anxious, depressed, or lonely in the past 12 mongths as of 2022, by age

02

Health

Social Isolation raises Cardiovascular Risks & Hypertension accelerating dementia & cognitive decline. Social support lowers the risk of health problems.

04

Body Image & Type

Social isolation in youth impacts academic and cognitive development. Teen body Image: social media and peer pressure fuels anxiety.

06

Economic & Social Status

Individual and Community Factors Shape Social Connections. Young city dwellers are at higher risk of loneliness

SOURCE: 2020 Consensus Study Report, National Academies of Sciences Engineering and Medicine

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Source: Kaiser Family Foundation; CNN

Initial Insights

1. Social Isolation increases the risk of depression and anxiety

Observational Videos

The utilization of observational videos provided us with a comprehensive understanding of the issue at hand. Through this approach, we were able to engage with individuals from diverse age groups and gain insight into their behavior when experiencing loneliness from three distinct perspectives.

Video 01

Understanding if people are okay having open discussions about loneliness in public
Location: Maryland, Baltimore
Date: 14th September, 2023
Duration: 3 hours

Takeaways:

  • The presence of a simple sign inviting conversation prompted engagement

  • There is a growing acceptance of discussing personal emotions in public spaces, yet there is stigma around it too, ‘trust’ being the main barrier in open discussion

  • There is a potential for fostering a sense of community within the campuses

  • Simple, public initiatives like these work to increase engagement in such spaces.

Video 02

The open area of a music show where people were socializing

Type of the Event: Music Show

Location: Brooklyn

Date: September 15th, 2023

Duration: 4 hours

Takeaways:

  • Gathering at a popular point hoping to strike a conversation.

  • It is difficult to talk to strangers

  • Having a drink on you makes it comfortable to just hang around.

Video 03

Attended a musical event that promotes mental well being

Event: Sitar for Mental Health

Artist: Rishab Rikhiram Sharma

Date: September 17th, 2023

Duration: 2 hours

Takeaways:

  • Music plays a significant role in fostering interaction amongst strangers.

  • Elderly people who are living alone find solace in events like these.

  • Music connects you with your inner self and promotes mental well-being.

  • During the break, we were asked to interact with the person sitting next to us which fostered interaction.

User Research

Surveys: Demographics 

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People who are in touch with their close ones are also willing to talk to strangers. Can such people be used to initiate social interactions ?

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 Survey Insights 

Closeness in relationships is directly proportional to frequency of meet

Pedestrians from an Ariel View
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“So, Social contact alone is not the cure to social isolation. It's meaningful social contact”

Howard Steele

Clinical Psychologist and professor

Expert Interviews

Diary Study

Day 01

Introduction

To understand the user and their motivations & to get an idea of their current routine and habits

Day 02

Task

To understand how the user feels about carrying out tasks that require efforts to socialize

Day 03

Reflection

To get an understanding of their idea of social isolation and how they tackle it

Errand Hang: It breaks the monotonous cycle, and makes my work a little interesting

Interactions with alumni and peers gives a sense of belonging, connection, knowledge and most importantly hope

self-expression ... helps me live in the moment and be fully present.

it was nice to have people come over because in the middle of conflicting thoughts i do sometimes have a tendency to spiral and overthink.

Hanim came over .... lovely spontaneous evening. He is a new friend who was introduced to me by someone else,

Social isolation is an epidemic that is invisibly encouraged by society as we cosy up indoors, everything at the touch of a button, not knowing our neighbours or meeting our friends,

enjoying the true fruits of conversation, mirth and sharing insights with friendships

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Take away from

User Interviews

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Developing Archetypes

x-axis: Social Behaviour

Apathetic

Enthusiastic

This group is indifferent towards meeting people. They either have no time to engage or love their own company. They are also separated by distance.

This group is eager and passionate to meet and interact with new people and their groups. They always want to be seen in social settings and get comfort from being around people. They are the initiators of the group.

Personality

y-axis: Personality

Introvert

People who are apprehensive about engaging with their physical environment and usually do not take initiatives to go out and meet other people.

People love to interact with other people and going out. They usually are the risk-takers and initiate plans.

Extrovert

Social Behav

Plotting the users

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Categorization

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Final Archetypes

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5 E Framework

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Pain Points

Enter

Entice

Experience

Exit

Extend

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Opportunity Area

Final Insights

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Area Exploration

Exploring How Might We's

How might we develop social skills?

How might we create a sense of community?

How might we connect people who are distant?

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ITERATION 1

Concept Testing A Music Box

The objective is to create a memorable and shared experience that leverages physical interaction, music, and the natural environment to foster connections between people in an engaging and innovative way.

How might we create a sense of community through physical interaction and synchronized music experience that fosters social connection in a natural environment?

Tool: Low Fidelity Images of the concept generated through AI

Solution: Introducing an interactive and music-infused experience through motion-enabled boxes. When individuals, especially strangers, sit on these boxes, they come to life with personalized music, creating an engaging platform for spontaneous connections.The solution is a fusion of physical interaction, music, and the environment, transforming these boxes into shared spaces that facilitate communication and the formation of meaningful connections between people.

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ITERATION 2

Peer-to-peer Community Platform

The objective is to establish and optimize a peer-to-peer community platform, the Social Connect, dedicated to leveraging digital space for heightened social connectivity, support, and well-being.

How might we discreetly amplify user connections, foster support, and improve well-being within our peer-to-peer community through the seamless integration of breakout rooms, content sharing, and personal journals, ensuring a confidential and enriching experience for every user.

Tool: 2D sketches, low-fidelity wireframes

Solution: A peer-to-peer community is the main hub of support where individuals share their stories and experiences, engaging in conversations with other members of the community.

ITERATION 3

Resonance: The Museum of Sound

The objective is to create an immersive Museum of Sound that invites visitors to explore and experience the richness of sound in an engaging and interactive way. The goal is to enhance understanding and appreciation for the diverse aspects of sound, including its artistic, scientific, and emotional dimensions.

How might we harness the emotive power of music to curate experiences that entertain, heal, educate, and inspire, seamlessly integrating this musical journey into a transformative and immersive setting.

Tool: 2D sketches, AI Generated Images

Solution: Designing an immersive sound-based environment that not only evokes emotions and memories but also encourages visitors to connect with one another through shared experiences.

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Echoes of Nature: An immersive room filled with sounds from various natural environments, designed with lush greenery, water features, and interactive lounges for discussions.

Whispers of the World: An enhanced exhibit celebrating the diversity of languages and voices, adorned with vivid cultural motifs and featuring storytelling booths to foster understanding and connection among cultures.

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This innovative exhibit combines interactive sound installations with dynamic visual projections that change in response to sounds explored by visitors. It's designed to create a tangible representation of how sound affects our cognitive functions, emotions, and memories, with areas where sound directly influences visual patterns, colors, and movements on the walls and floors.

Digital Work Life

Landscape Analysis

Use this space to tell users more about yourself or to describe what your business does. Click to edit the text.

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Way Ahead

Gathering Feedback on the Final Concept

Prototyping

Testing

Iterating

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