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What if we utilized existing routines to provide food to people facing food insecurity?

According to Feeding America, 40,044,000 people in the United States experience limited or uncertain access to adequate food. We propose a mobile, locker truck to reach people experiencing food insecurities and limited time, limited transportation options, and limited kitchen supplies.

10 weeks with Feeding America // service design studio // team of five

 

 

enRoute 

Creating the mobile locker food truck that will help feed America

 
 

Reaching people where they are

Based on observations and interviews we conducted at food agencies, food kitchens, and homeless shelters and through speaking with local food providers, like Jewel Osco and Trader Joes, we discovered that there are very little food options that utilize people’s existing routes.  We combined this discovery with non-perishable food options to focus our design in spaces that involved transportation, outdoor public spaces, places with no hour limit, and stores.

Additionally, during our primary research, we learned that many people who might be food insecure might not have access to smart phones and/or may be limited data wise, which could create difficulties when trying to implement phone or heavily tech-based component.  Thus, we decided before brainstorming that we weren’t going to implement any prototypes that utilized mobile phones.

 
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Exploring and testing ideas through foam core

To structure our focus, we created three different how might we questions, which resulted in a series of foam core mockups and personas based on iterative brainstorming sessions.

 

How might we create a grab and go food experience?

What if we utilized surrounding infrastructure to provide food you could grab on the fly

How might we welcome deviations in your routine?

What if we provided food at locations that are infrequent, but necessary, like the doctor’s office

How might we bring food to where you are?

What if we could create a food truck that could travel to areas on your daily route

 
Three personas we utilized to increase empathy, understanding, and focus

Three personas we utilized to increase empathy, understanding, and focus

 

Through a discussion with Feeding America and the Greater Chicago Food Depository, we decided to focus on evaluating how we might bring food to where people currently are in the form of a locker food truck. 

To help illustrate the implementation and use cases our of prototypes I created a service blueprint that walks through the interactions, front stage actions, and backstage actions that could occur within our mobile food truck prototype.

 
Service blueprint of our mobile food truck prototype

Service blueprint of our mobile food truck prototype

 

Additionally, we created a journey map to explore and explain a possible scenario focused on our intended users and our iterated mobile food truck prototype.

 
 
Journey map of our mobile food truck prototype

Journey map of our mobile food truck prototype

 
 

Releasing foam core models on Chicagoland

Through trying out our ideas with people in Chicago we were able to evaluate the validity of our idea as well as experiment with the trust and approachability created with a volunteer versus a standalone interface. 

 

Our foam core model outside of the L train stations and the public library

 
 

From usability testing, we learned that starting off with a volunteer with the first release of a mobile, locker truck would help establish confidence and trust within potential users. Additionally, we saw the opportunity for expansion and implementation of the mobile, locker food truck in the future.  As lockers continue to become more popular, standalone lockers could be implemented to provide people with food insecurities 24/7 hour access to food.  Additionally, with the emergence of refrigerated lockers, our initial mobile, locker truck could be modified to accommodate non-perishables and provide people with food insecurities additional food options.