Design Research Team
Youngbok Hong, Program Director, Associate Professor
Herron School of Art and Design, Indiana University's School of Physical Education + Tourism Management, Adapted Physical Activity Clinics (APAC)
The APAC organization was founded in 1996, when Dr. Katie Stanton began her tenure at the IUPUI School of Physical Education and Tourism Management. APAC offers two key clinics as part of its programming - the Motor Activity Clinic (MAC) and the Ability Fitness Clinic (AFC). Both of the clinics were established to provide high quality physical activity programs to support the health and wellness of people with disabilities throughout their lives. MAC offers aquatic and fundamental motor skill training, while AFC offers physical fitness programming. Clinics are family-oriented programs offered in a community-based setting and are designed to be accessible and affordable for all. APAC is also a service learning organization, in which junior and senior undergraduate students in the Kinesiology program are the student teachers who each work directly with one of the clinic participants. Each student teacher creates a physical activity plan that is designed specifically for their individual participant, as well as works with them in the clinics to provide mentorship and guide them through the exercises and activities.
The final deliverable was a strategic planning document that was tailor made according to APAC's values and vision for the future. This document is intended to serve as an action tool for APAC to develop long-term sustainable growth, by forming relationships with other organizations, agencies, and community members who align with their mission. In forming these relationships, APAC seeks to gain additional support to achieve their goals of growing their community, becoming self-sustaining, and serving a greater number of families.
In the Fall of 2016, Dr. Katie Stanton, Founder and Director of APAC, reached out to the Visual Communication Design (VCD) graduate program at the Herron School of Art + Design, to collaborate on a project to research potential opportunities for the growth of the organization. An additional intent of the collaboration was to develop a project that would be a learning opportunity for the graduate cohort, for the Collaborative Action Research in Design course.
The research was conducted using the Simplex process, developed by Dr. Min Basadur, which is a model for creative and effective problem solving. The Simplex model is unique in its cyclical, rather than linear, nature. Depending upon how large and complex the problem, several rounds of diverging and converging might occur within a process step before proceeding to the next step.
- Problem Finding - When APAC approached the design research team, they were seeking assistance planning for the future, in order to become a more self-sustaining organization that would continue to grow and have the resources to serve more families in Indiana. First, we held a kick-off meeting in which APAC gave a history of their organization, as well as discussed their current services and programming. The research team asked about APAC’s current needs, goals for the future, and perceived challenges towards achieving those goals. The deliverable was a research plan with a schedule, design research methods, objectives, and expected outputs.
- Fact Finding - After gaining an initial picture of APAC's goals and challenges from the kick-off meeting, the designers needed to dig deeper to discover more about the organization. First we did several observation sessions at the weekly clinics to get a sense of their culture and to see how the student teachers and participants interact. We also had the opportunity to immerse ourselves in the clinic environment to play with the participants, so we could get to know them and the student teachers more personally. Following the observations, we interviewed each of the stakeholder groups of APAC to understand their roles and objectives within the organization. Then we transcribed all of the key facts from the observations and interviews onto post-it notes. We created an affinity diagram of the post-its, which places them into similar categories based on patterns found between the key facts from each stakeholder group. The deliverable was an Experience Map that shows the relationships between each of the groups within APAC - their vision of the organization, its current state, their met and unmet needs, benefits and opportunities, as well as how they interact with their own community and the community at large.
- Problem Definition - Next we ideated on all the key facts from the Experience Map. This consisted of diverging and converging “How might we?” opportunity statements. A “How might we” opportunity statement turns an identified problem into an opportunity for action. Next, we selected the most strategically appropriate and relevant opportunity statements to move forward with. This step ensured the designers and APAC were asking the right questions and there was an accurate definition of the problem. The deliverable was an Opportunity Statement Map that showed each of the opportunity spaces developed: Mission & Vision, APAC Relationships, Organizational Resources, and Community Relationships.
- Idea Finding - This step consisted of creating potential solutions to the “How might we?” opportunity statements that were generated in the problem definition step. The design team focused on the opportunity statement for the Mission and Vision opportunity space, “HMW transform APAC’s spirt into an organizational identity?” Using that focus, we facilitated envisioning sessions for the Advisory Council and the student teachers. The deliverables were the Envisioning Session Maps.
- Action Planning - Opportunities and strategic actions were organized into priorities for APAC to focus on achieving. The objective was to create a tangible road map that would act as an action tool to help APAC achieve their identified goals. The deliverable was a Strategic Plan that was given to APAC to use moving forward.