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Co-creating a fresh human centered perspective on immigration through Service Design


Project Type: Workshop

Duration:  June 18th –  June 20th, 2021

Team: Lynn Overmeyer, Meghan Hannel, Saranya Villavankothai, Temofe Isaaac Akaba, Karam Yoo, Hala Hawa

Mentors: James Field, David Russo

My role: Service Designer

Tools: Conducted interviews, led the recruitment of survey participants and co-designed an evaluative survey

Technology: Miro

Theme: <ex-tensions>

The Challenge

HMW we create a more personal process that elevates reciprocal respect for immigrants?

The Approach

A Service design approach of conducting brainwriting, clustering, problem framing, desk research, user interviews, affinity mapping, how might we, service blueprint, sketching, and prototyping to radically design an innovative process for immigration.

The Outcome

An application called Immigr8, which is a match-making buddy system, where we forge connections to align our efforts around creating together and easing the application process by advocating for shared needs and tell our journey.

The Impact

Immigr8 brings value to the applicants by providing a buddy/mentor who is a partner to them through the application process and their time in their host country. It also brings value to the mentor by providing individuals to work with them in their home country that helps in establishing new found relationships that may lead them to expand into a global market as they continue to stay connected.

01 The Challenge

The immigration process in the United States has been challenging for many people across the globe. It is a promised land where everything life will be better yet the lack of humanity within the immigration system is appalling. The lengths that some people will take for their families to have a better life is an opportunity for us to rethink the immigration process. The system that was implemented has been outdated for decades.

By building a smoother process for immigration, it is hoped that the mental health toll will reduce and it becomes a stress free journey.

02 The Approach

Our design team identified the opportunity for its need by doing desk research, and interviewing immigrants from North America. We spent time to understand the context of the problem by addressing the 5 W's:

  1. What are some of the problems in the domain?

  2. Who is affected by it as a result?

  3. Where is it happening?

  4. When is it happening?

  5. Why is it happening?

We then conducted interviews with men and women from various backgrounds to dive deeper into their experience with the immigration process. Using Affinity mapping to organize our research insights helped us in further narrowing down the problem statement.


Key Insights

  1. Expect the process to be unpleasant

  2. Immigration gives people new opportunities

  3. Increased financial burden

  4. Lack of humanity in immigration process

  5. Opportunity for process to be more transparent and accessible


How might we create a more personal process that elevates reciprocal respect for immigrants?

03 The Outcome

This was the favorite part of our team's journey in tackling a complex issue. Each of us thought outside the box and sketched ideas that would be truly revolutionary in the government sector. With the varied options and the time constraint, we used dot voting to individually vote on the features that would aid us in converging to a final concept.

It was a match making buddy system where we forge connections globally that create value and showcase a journey together. We had to identify the type of users for the app and the user journey for the immigration process that included the before, beginning, during and after.


04 The Impact

Identifying the impact across the various types of users was a key factor in understanding the importance of the change that is required in the immigration process. Many people of all walks of life, including the applicant, the mentor, and the government would benefit from having a smoother transition between countries.


05 Reflection

This was my first experience in Service Design and the nerves were definitely at a high during the Service Jam. However, even if you are a junior in the field, when you have the right team that welcomes you, it makes all the difference. The team was extremely collaborative and the mentors were the best in the field. The mentors facilitated the workshop by pre-recording videos that explained each concept in detail and allowed us enough time to review and ask questions. The brainwriting and affinity mapping helped us highlight the converging and diverging of ideas that occurs during the entire ideating process.


The best part of the service jam was working together on the blueprint. All of us were on the Miro board, dissecting each part of the journey, discussing the journey, and creating the blueprint together.

Our teams were being switched due to lack of participants on the second day of the workshop that deterred the momentum that was gained from the first day. However, this taught us that we need to be adaptable to any situation even if you plan it out to the minute detail.

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