PRIMARY RESEARCH UNDERWAY

© 2020 Copyright Lara Isaacson

“It’s easier to be a dad this morning. It’s easier to tell your kids, ‘Character matters, being a good person matters,’…This is vindication for a lot of people who really have suffered…This is a big deal for us to get some peace…for a whole lot of people it’s a good day.”

Environmental Justice advocate Van Jone’s, reaction to the Biden/Harris victory

I feel it would be amiss to write anything and publicly post it this weekend without acknowledging the incredible feat for social and environmental justice yesterday. Congratulations to President Elect Joe Biden and Vice President Elect Kamala Harris! Moving into 2021, I am enthusiastic about the renewed potential for regenerative sustainability policy change for both people and the planet. With a lighter, more hopeful outlook about what we can collectively achieve, the place of my thesis in the larger picture of systems change seems more tangible than ever.

The Regenerative Nest has been upgraded to include self development as the first and outer most circle of the nest. It is the place we each start our regenerative design journey and the place we revisit every step of the process. If you’ve been following along, you saw my draft of the update for the Nest with a shift from tucking self development under cooperation, to recognizing this as a central regenerative concept that marks the beginning and maintenance of regenerative design practice.

© 2020 Copyright Lara Isaacson

Additionally, a card-based educational tool for learning the theories and methods of regenerative design has been modeled around The Nest. Based on the literature review for this thesis, this is the first time a model and higher education tool has been created around the theories and methods of regenerative design. The deck is called REGEN Nest. Building on other models and a rich body of work, this tool increases the accessibility of these foundational regenerative concepts through consolidation and targeting the young professionals segment of sustainability work.

There are Mini Decks for each circle of The Nest (see sample in image below) and both Quick and Immersive activities for educational settings as well as tips for integrating the deck into an actual design project. The REGEN Nest can be used while in a classroom setting as a primer for regenerative concepts, applied to project-based learning pedagogy, and then carried past graduation into the professional world as a facilitation tool for educating colleagues or again guiding the design process. The tool can be used across design disciplines and is simple enough to incorporate disciplines outside of design for sustainability, such as in science, engineering, or public policy. Regenerative design requires many fields to cooperate, sharing cultural and ecological expertise to co-design effective systems intervention. The Regenerative Nest through the REGEN Nest card deck becomes the key to accessing a shared regenerative framework and language.

© 2020 Copyright Lara Isaacson

Currently the REGEN Nest is 100% digital out of the necessity of testing in online settings due to COVID19. The deck is still being designed in a card-based medium to leave the door open for future printing and the variety of classroom settings available in higher education. Yet, this virtual format has reveals the internet based network potential of connecting students and designers alike around regenerative ideas along with the potential for self organizing iterative design of the Nest. More of this potential will be explored in the upcoming primary research. At the moment, Phase One of the research is halfway complete. (See the image below for a visualization of the primary research design for this thesis.)

Visualization of primary research design

One live virtual user testing workshop on the self care portion of the Self Development Mini Deck of the REGEN Nest has already been successfully conducted with a group of primarily undergraduate design students. The workshop data is in the process of being analyzed but thus far indicated that further development of the REGEN Nest will provide a promising start for introducing regenerative design explicitly into sustainability curriculums. The second workshop will be conducted this week with another group of undergraduate design students and a focus on two different Mini Decks of the REGEN Nest.

The second Phase of primary research is also not far off and will include virtual user testing with a pre-recorded video to accommodate a variety of time zones and schedules. This Phase will also include primarily non design disciplines. That is all I want to reveal about the user testing process for now, since this is a public blog and I don’t want to share too much more of the content before the user testing is complete. Some of my future participants may read this blog and I want them to be experiencing the content of the REGEN Nest for the first time for more spontaneous and authentic responses. 

After the primary research and analysis is complete, I will do one more post about some of my findings and the potential future of this versatile tool. There is just about a month left until my tentative thesis defense date, so stay tuned!

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