We, along with all other groups in the class, created our first deliverable last week! We finalized our Scope of Work and created a presentation to showcase our ideas to the class. As per the schedule that we’ve set up in our SoW, this week was our first week of data collection in which we’ve each budgeted time to make 20 calls to former clients.
Some challenges have already arisen as we each are trying to make time within our own busy schedules to make these calls. Additionally, we expect that this project will necessitate a calling strategy that involves the following criteria:
- What time of the day is best to make phone calls to former clients?
- How do we navigate addressing concerns regarding the exposure of their private information?
- Will we need to inform them of a time constraint to avoid having the conversation derail and go off on tangents?
- Should we propose sending them an email survey that they can fill out at their convenience?
- If we don’t gather enough data, should we incentivize the survey?
Since the next three weeks of our project is pretty straight forward in terms of deliverables and expectations, we have had limited communication with Jason. The extent of our contact has been an exchange of a view interesting articles.
What We Observed/Learned
Jazlyn was able to attend the housing event that was put on by CLS-EPA in conjunction with various partners on campus. It was interesting to hear the panelists, but the most intriguing and important part of the panel was the dynamic of the room. There were a large number of people who had been bused in to Stanford for the event, including high school children. When the Q&A section started, there was a distinct separation between the type of questions. On the one hand, there were the Stanford types who had intellectual curiosities, questions about policy and history. On the other, there were somewhat hostile questions from citizens of East Palo Alto, who were demanding support and change from those on the panel. As someone in the audience, I was brought back into the thoughts of where our place is with regards to service in EPA. No matter how humble we are, at the end of the day, they have to live with the problems that we are trying to fix.
Most of the power and responsibility for this project is a bit out of our hands, yet we house all of the project’s risk. As a group, we’ve realized that if we don’t get enough survey responses, we’ll have limited data to work with. However, from what it seems, people are willing to talk to us if they’re called at the appropriate times. We also run the risk of having clients whose phone numbers are no longer functional or accurate.
Realistically speaking, our team may have underestimated the task of collecting the data. It is easy for us to slip into the mindset that the level of importance of our project to our group is equal to the level of public excitement to cooperate with their information. Our group members can see the potential for this project, but we are finding difficulty in coordinating the right times to contact people. In the grand scheme of things, our role in and to the community is miniscule. The value of the impact that this collection of data will make is based largely on the community that we wish to serve. However, the people in these very communities may not have the bandwidth necessary to be active participants. Their main priorities are based on general aspects of survival. The remaining time that they have is then dedicated to things other than answering our survey questions.
The trouble that we are having contacting people will probably be beneficial to us for the duration of this project. The structure of our schedules do not lend themselves to time dedicated solely to telephone communication. Society has become so ingrained with efficient communication that can be done in tandem with other tasks, that we failed to see the major difference in the type and setting of communication that is necessary for this project. We now understand the need to better tailor our approach to data collection to be sensitive to the daily lifestyles of the former clients and re-evaluate our roles as people outside of the affected communities.