In spring 2009, Parsons began its first service-design course as part of a partnership with The Fortune Society. Service design requires examination of all the factors going into a service, from the interaction between its providers and users to specific details involving products, tools, space, and communications.
The Fortune Society's housing facility in Long Island City, Queens. The Fortune Society is a nonprofit organization that provides formerly incarcerated people with reintegration services including career development, healthcare, counseling and family advice, education, and housing.
Design new services, or redesign existing ones, in order to enhance The Fortune Society's clients' sense of community.
The faculty and students used a “designing with” model, encouraging close engagement with The Fortune Society's clients and staff in order to identify, analyze, and enhance important emotional events experienced by the society's clients.
Students engaged in academic and ethnographic research to identify when clients begin to feel a deep connection to The Fortune Society as a community. After determining that this connection is felt often several months after initial introduction to society services, students explored ways for The Fortune Society to accelerate its onset.
The students' service proposals included the introduction of a buddy system, where long-standing clients who had successfully reintegrated into society would mentor newer clients, presenting them with a welcome kit of essential items and connecting them to valuable community resources such as recreation centers, free arts events, computer labs, and training services.
Students and faculty from the Parsons Integrated Design BFA program.