I participated in an eight week hands-on design lab that used the design thinking framework to make a positive impact in the Portland community. 
My group’s challenge was to celebrate authentic Latin American food and support local immigrant entrepreneurs by increasing visibility and patronage of the Portland Mercado (a LATAM food cart pod, market, and community gathering place located in the SE). We collaborated with Mariel Alvarado, the creator of a Mercado coupon booklet, to brainstorm how we might creatively market and distribute the coupon booklet while staying true to its community-based roots. The duration of the lab mapped to the phases of the design thinking process (research, ideate, prototype, test). I was my group’s team lead and was responsible for coordinating and organizing our efforts. 
We began by conducting extensive research and interviewing Mercado business owners and staff to learn more about food authenticity, the role that food plays in the the Latino culture, the experience of moving to Portland as an immigrant, and the challenges of starting a new business. We also interviewed patrons from analogous food cart pods to learn what compels people to eat at food carts, what keeps them coming back, and if a coupon booklet would make a difference.
After conducting our research and interviewing key stakeholders and the public, the team gathered together to share stories and and insights and synthesize all of the information.

Working through a service design system mapping process.

Based upon where our research and ideas were leading us, we decided to create a mini marketing kit. Our marketing kit is a framework to promote el Pasaporte project, create customer loyalty, drive traffic to the Mercado, and amplify the voices of the vendors. We focused on identifying compelling marketing themes and language and mapping out the basic structure of a new landing page to promote the launch of the Pasaporte project. 
Our team worked together to create scrappy prototypes to user test marketing language and landing page content. Then, we workshopped our ideas with the public at an all-day Lab Impactathon. Some of the big questions we hoped to answer were “What would motivate someone to buy a copy of the Pasaporte and participate?” and “What needs to be at the forefront of the digital presence to capture attention and interest?”
We learned so much during the Impactathon day. Some of our key takeaways from community feedback were:
• Consider changing the name, sensitive moment politically and with recent events
• Some disinterest in the savings and "big prizes", more interest in impact
• Be clearer about how the coupon book ultimately helps the community, this is a primary motivator for many
• Need to find a balance between celebrating authentic food and exoticising the people
We wrapped up the lab by presenting a final summary of our work and suggesting ways to continue the design process. We recommended that Mariel test pieces of the marketing kit to see what resonates with people, conduct additional user testing for the landing page, and set up focus group to workshop alternative name ideas for the coupon booklet.
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