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Design Thinking: Solving Life’s Problems | Suresh Jayakar | TEDxCrenshaw

Design Thinking: Solving Life’s Problems | Suresh Jayakar | TEDxCrenshaw


Translator: Rea Bedalli
Reviewer: Saúl Chinchilla Good afternoon, My name is Suresh Jayakar, and I am a user experience designer. I work at a local agency called Kluge. Today, I’m excited to talk to you
about design and design thinking. Design thinking is a process, a way to solve problems. We’re naturally taught to take
the best choice, and to execute that, to think convergently. What design thinking does,
is encourage us to think divergently, to think outside the box,
and to come up with creative ways that might not even exist. We often look at problems
through a microscope. What design thinking does,
is to look at it through a telescope, to look at the big picture, to see how things work
from a holistic perspective. And we do that by talking to our users,
by empathizing with them, understanding their problems,
and defining those problems, and then creating solutions
that we can then test and validate. My family and I moved from India
to Southern California in 2003. My mom, who is a nurse, got a job
at Centinela Hospital in Inglewood. During those first few weeks,
we stayed at a hotel near the hospital. Initially, we didn’t have a car, and everywhere we went
we had to walk or take the bus. I remember taking walks
with my dad in the neighborhood, and you know what? There is one thing
that really stood out to us. There weren’t many grocery stores nearby. Here we are in beautiful California,
Southern California, where a lot of people live, and we had trouble finding
bananas, apples, and tomatoes. Currently, I live in a city
called Torrance. It’s about 20 minutes away, and its unbelievable, but where I live there are
two grocery stores right down the street. In a two-mile radius,
we have nine grocery stores. That is not the case in South L.A.. In South L.A., many parts of it
are described as food deserts. The federal government, defines
a food desert as a neighborhood where fresh fruits and vegetables are
not easily accessible to people to buy, and it’s simply because of a lack
of grocery stores and farmers markets. For some of the people
that live in South L.A., it’s a real struggle
to find fresh produce, and here are some of the reasons: One, there are a ton of liquor stores, and fast food joints on every corner, but grocery stores on the other hand,
are few and far between. Number two, without
a reliable means of transport getting to a grocery store
is often an issue. And number three, currently some
of the popular grocery delivery services aren’t available in parts of South L.A. Even if people were willing
to pay that premium, it’s simply not available
for people to use. About six weeks ago,
I participated in a hackathon. You might be wondering,
what the heck is a hackathon? A hackathon is a design
or technology challenge, where people come together to solve
real problems in their communities. When we were presented with some
of the problems that South L.A. has, food access really stuck out to us. Even though I had only
experienced that for a few weeks, it really stuck with me,
and it’s something I’ve never forgotten. The community health council, which is
a nonprofit organization based in L.A., they released a report a few years ago, talking about food desserts in South L.A. They also reported that South L.A. has one of the highest rates
of diet related health issues, and that is a problem
my team and I wanted to solve. And what we came up with
was a produce truck. The produce truck is like a food truck, but instead of selling tacos,
or sandwiches, it would sell fresh fruits and vegetables. During the day they would
go pick up produce and post on their website and social media
the locations they would be that day, By working with few central locations
in every few blocks, and by operating in the evening
when people come home from work, they would be able to cover
a lot of ground, and a lot of people. A few weeks after our competition, I was doing some research, and turns out,
somebody already beat us to our idea. There are a group of people in Boston, that are solving the same exact problem
in their communities that are food deserts. They sell fresh fruits and produce
across different neighborhoods, and this summer alone, they have sold
about 4,000 pounds of produce. We know it is an idea that works,
because it has in Boston. And it shouldn’t take living
in these difficult neighborhoods to empathize with these problems
that people are having. It’s going to take people
from all walks of life; designers, donors, developers, all of us
to come together to collaborate, and use design thinking
to solve this big problem that our community is facing today. Design thinking is our answer, because sometimes traditional ways
of doing things just doesn’t work. These are a few of the pictures
of the produce truck in Boston. Thank you. (Applause)

4 thoughts on “Design Thinking: Solving Life’s Problems | Suresh Jayakar | TEDxCrenshaw

  1. The food truck concept exists in India already, in fact I would say this must be legacy before grocery shops came into existence

  2. In East LA and Boyle Heights there are a few different vegetable trucks. I heard they have been operating for decades. There are also people who hustle fruits on the street.

    I think there's also one up in Pico Union.

    The trucks are "legal" legit biz, but the fruit vendors are not. However, I suspect if there weren't a tradition of unlicensed street vending, particularly for selling things in ways completely against health codes, these large scale truck vendors wouldn't be viable.

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