Working Model

The majority of our work will be structured as different projects. Inspired by Afsaneh Rigot‘s Design From the Margins approach, each of our projects centers on one marginalized group, and spans over at least two years to give us the time and space needed to meaningfully engage with a community and stakeholders in the problem space. Recognizing the heterogeneity within every marginalized community, we will emphasize and highlight intersectionality when working with a community, and prioritize the involvement and needs of those on the margin of the margins.

Understand problem
Co-design solutions
Scale solutions
Sustain progress


Understand the problem

We start each project with community and technology research to understand the problem space, community needs, and opportunities for technologies.

What we do during this phase:

  • Qualitative and quantitative research with community members to identify problem areas where the community is underserved, impacted, suppressed by technologies.
  • Conduct ethnographic research to understand the community’s goals and needs in identified problem areas.
  • Review and evaluate existing knowledge, resources, partnerships, infrastructure, and potential impact for identified problem areas.
  • Investigate key technologies involved in the problem areas to outline their limitations and opportunities.

Examples of expected outcomes:

  • A strong partnership and respectful relationship with the community we work with;
  • Informed decision on a problem space to further investigate with the community, with clear rationals and justifications.
  • New data/insights about the community and their experiences with technological and/or other systematic suppressions.
  • An overview of the technical barriers and opportunities relevant to the community’s goals, needs, and challenges in the problem space.
  • An overview of the socio structural barriers and constraints impacting the community’s goals, needs, and challenges in the problem space.
  • Publications of all research methodology, findings, and data per participants’ consents.


Co-design solutions

We collaborate with community members to co-design technical or non-technical solution(s) that dismantle barriers and level the playing field.

What we do during this phase:

  • Conduct and facilitate participatory design workshops to scope out potential solution(s) with the community.
  • Mentor and support community members to experiment with different technologies and explore the design space.
  • Partner with community members to co-develop low/medium fidelity prototype solutions.
  • Evaluate and iterate the solution prototypes with community members and stakeholders.

Examples of expected outcomes:

  • A high-fidelity technical prototype that: counters existing technological harms and inconveniences experienced by the community; brings tangible benefits to the community; creates the sense of empowerment to the community.
  • An advocacy agenda that challenges and addresses issues in current technological marginalizations experienced by the community.
  • A framework that guides the design and development of relevant technologies to become inclusive by design.
  • Published documentations of the co-design process, outcomes, and learnings.
  • Publication of the technical details and community evaluation results for prototypes developed in this phase.


Scale solutions

We refine, promote, and productionize community-proposed solutions to scale the impact. For non-technical solution(s), we will support and represent the community in its advocacy for these solutions and relevant structural changes to existing social systems. For technical solution(s), we will co-develop the zero-to-one product(s) with the community and push for their adoptions in a wider socio-technical context.

What we do during this phase:

  • Participate and lead public campaign for community proposed solutions.
  • Serve as expert witness for government initiatives and policy changes.
  • Serve as technical consultants/advisors for community-led advocacy and activist movements.
  • Develop and release robust technical products in partnership with community members.

Examples of expected outcomes:

  • Redesign of existing technical systems.
  • One of more technical products adopted by the community and the general public.
  • New technical standards and requirements for commercial products within the problem space.
  • New legislation and/or regulations for technologies within the problem space.
  • Public awareness of issues with existing systems.


Sustain progress

We will sustain the progress by establishing a structure to maintain or transfer the technical solutions we have built and establish new legal/technical standards for future technologies in the problem space. As we grow as an organization, we expect to learn more about this phase and and will always be open to adopt new ideas and practices along the way.

What we do during this phase:

  • Explore and identify a sustainable model to fund long-term technical and non-technical work in partnership with the community and stakeholders.
  • Build a maintenance structure for technical work, including but not limited to: open-sourcing all technical work; licensing technology to commercial products; mentoring and coaching community members as technical contributors and maintainers.
  • Advocate for structural and institutional protections of existing progress, e.g. pass of new legal requirements, adoption of new technical standards.
  • Mentor and grow technical talent and leadership within the community.

Examples of expected outcomes:

  • Establish technical/industry standards.
  • Establish new legal frameworks and government regulations.
  • Build a cross-sector coalition to continue working on the problem space.
  • Obtain sustainable income for the technical products we released.
  • Strong technical talents within the community to drive the maintenance and further development of technical products.