Mayor Durkan’s administration wants to find ways to connect youth with good jobs by creating a citywide strategy for youth, economic opportunity, and the future of work.
We have just completed a nearly three-month research phase focused on understanding the opportunities and challenges facing youth and young adults when considering their future – particularly when taken into consideration with the implications of changing employer expectations and forces like automation.
Our deliverable for this research phase of this project is an interactive report of all our findings including qualitative research, quantitative analyses, and supporting secondary research.
To view, go to bit.ly/youthofseattle
To scope our project, we created a research plan and carried out literature reviews and landscape analyses. We conducted organizational research by interviewing directors and staff from departments that serve young people.
Then we hit the streets to hear directly from residents.
Staff members and interns volunteered to interview young people at different locations around Seattle. Research activities included hour-long scheduled interviews as well as pop-up photo booths.
The photo booths elicited interest from people passing by, who–in exchange for a short interview–would receive a free photo for professional or personal use. We created several pop-up photo booths to capture people’s stories.
One location was at Seattle Central.
Another location was inside The Armory at Seattle Center.
Between our 1-hour scheduled interviews and our quick intercept-style interviews, we had over 25 hours of tape. We transcribed the the audio and pulled out interesting quotes.
In ten weeks, we were able to talk to over a hundred young people, parents, and employers.
Our interviews produced hundreds of data points and to make sense of it – we externalized it all by putting individual notes on the wall.
We interpreted each data point by asking ourselves, What does this mean? Why does it matter? We organized the notes based on inferred likeness. We started seeing patterns across people.
For example, a theme emerged around the need for young people to have support from caring adults.
Our core project team of two collected, processed, and synthesized the data, but we invited other staff to join us at every step of the process.
This served to create a shared sense of what happened in the research and helped us to make meaning out of data and come up with actionable insights.
Our research generated hundreds of data points and dozens of themes.
Ultimately we ended up with 16 insights to refine. We used flow diagramming and combined insights and used other methods to find new ideas.
We shared our work with our partners as we went.
We facilitated activities to have staff learn human-centered design tools and have the opportunity to contribute their own observations and insights.
Through our research, city staff cultivated a deeper understanding of youth and young adult experiences and how to better support their needs on their journey to careers.
Our work took a human-centered approach to shift the conversation towards designing ideas, policies and initiatives to address our young residents’ strengths and needs.
The insights generated from our research will be used to inform a series of public workshops on the week of September 10th.
If you are interested in identify opportunities to create or improve policies, programs, and services – join us!
- Check back on our website for updates.
- Read or share our report at bit.ly/youthofseattle
- Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
This work will ultimately contribute to informing Mayor Durkan’s portfolio of youth initiatives. We’d love to hear from you.
Thank you to all our participants and research partners! Special thanks to Seattle Center for hosting a photo booth and to our photographer, Olli Tumelius.
Stay tuned to hear more about our research activities in our next post.