Se chat about taboos
The details of this taboo vary by specific culture.
The taboos most commonly affect daughters-in-law, and they don’t always stop with just names.
We landed on a set of pop-up nail salons where we invited young women to come in and sit down for a free manicure in exchange for a chat.
It sounds a little crazy, but the conversation would go something like this: We talked about their decisions about contraception and on and on until we were in a fully engaged and open conversation with these amazing young women.
The first prototype in this journey to design digital tools to improve the financial health of low-income Americans is called Money Stories. What’s the nail salon equivalent that you could set up that would put people at ease and make them feel more comfortable talking about the hard stuff? How might we get people to talk about those emergencies situations or their neighbor’s behavior instead of asking them to talk about their regular behaviors to get them to open up about shame-inducing topics? Instead of starting off with the really challenging stuff that makes people feel uncomfortable, start by asking them about the successes.
At we use human-centered design to tackle the challenges of poverty, which means that we start every piece of work by spending a lot of time getting to know and understand the aspirations, desires, and needs of the communities we’re designing with.
Though this approach has proven to be pretty successful when asking rural farmers to talk about the ways in which they might get a better yield from their fields, you can't exactly just walk up to young women and start prying into their sex lives.
At we design for a lot of taboo topics and today I’m going to talk about three of my favorites: sex, shit, and money.
For the past few years we’ve been working with an organization called Marie Stopes in Zambia trying to figure out how to increase access to reproductive health services for young women between the ages of 15 and 19.