The Mission Continues
In this collaboration between SVA Products of Design and the Veterans Affairs Experience Office, Manako and her team of classmates explored ways to increase engagement of young, recently discharged women veterans with the services at VA NY Harbor Hospital. Using IDEO’s human-centered approach (interviewing users, generating design principles, and producing tangible insights), the team used the research to fuel the design of the final proposal, The Mission Continues.
The research revealed that the most difficult barrier to engagement is that if one is not aware of the services available to her, she does not even think to find out about her eligibility. The team proposed a mentorship program whose goal is to inform the young veterans of these services that they may not be aware of.
Partnership with The Mission Continues
The laws restricting governmental institutions, including the VA, to advertise their services made it difficult for the VA to engage with young veterans. Partnering with a nongovernmental organization such as Mission Continues enables corporate sponsorship and advertisements.
Engaging experienced veterans
While the advertisements mostly target recently discharged veterans, the VA can reach out to experienced veterans who already use the services. By asking these veterans to become mentors, the program essentially asks them to be ambassadors for the VA.
The mentorship program is a system that facilitates communication to veterans through other veterans by connecting experienced veterans to recent veterans and guiding their meetings through the tailored toolkits. The information that is personalized in the words of other veterans then trigger interest in recent veterans, thus overcoming the most difficult barrier of engagement.