As I mentioned, this project is a practice run for me as I think about defining the idea of cultural interventions for behavior and perspective change. On Saturday morning as I was trying to get myself out of bed, I had some thoughts about a hypothesis for how this cultural intervention process could work. The example is from a day I spent with the amazing ladies of Demoiselle 2 Femme in Roseland, discussing their project about addressing STIs in their neighborhoods. The process is not new, and not much different from what we do every day as design researchers, but I think there are some pieces that could be especially important for cultural interventions specifically.

1. Map the experience
For example, how does someone get an STI? At some point, two people have sex, but what happens before and after that to put someone at a higher risk?

2. Dive deeper
At each point at the map, ask “Why does the experience happen this way?” The girls mentioned that boys have sex with lots of different girls. Why? Because they’ll get bullied by the other boys if they don’t.

3. Go to the cultural source
What if then we went to hang out with the most intimidating bullies, to understand their culture and value system? What’s cool and why is it cool? How did it come to be cool? What are the important core needs that are being fulfilled by this bullying behavior, or the focus on sexual promiscuity? Is there another healthier way we could fulfill those needs in a similar cultural context?