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CeaseFire Campaign for Violence Prevention

June 29, 2015


The goal of this workshop is to plan an organization’s innovation direction by going through a rigorous innovation planning process. Students work to conceive a defensible innovation plan to help an organization seek a new opportunity. Students draw their arguments based on in-depth research on target audiences, market context, technology trends, and cultural dynamics. The workshop guides the students to apply structured methods, tools and frameworks to create a viable conceptual direction for the organization.


Students worked with CeaseFire Chicago, an anti-violence organization, to develop a communications strategy to change the thinking about the social norms and behaviors that perpetuate the transmission of violence at the individual and community level. Over a period of three months the project team interviewed CeaseFire staff, community residents, local stakeholders, and potential enabling partners in order to define the problem space and design a solution.


Homicide is the second leading cause of death for Americans aged 16-34. In the existing social environment violence is permissive and pervasive as a solution for the high risk to address conflicts or to get material needs met. The fear of violence causes low risk community residents to stay indoors and makes them afraid to speak up, resulting in the neglect of the social and physical environment of the neighborhood. How could CeaseFire Chicago close this communication gap to create a shared sense of community building and a dialogue for change?

Proposed User Experience

The project team designed a community involvement campaign comprised of four systems: The Good News Engine fosters and spreads good news, changing the community’s emotional environment. Universal Training extends CeaseFire’s reach to a broad range of community stakeholders by sharing techniques that enable them to play an active role in preventing conflicts from escalating. The Mobile Branch creates a visible presence and flexible place for social interaction between community members. Heal the Space works to reverse physical neglect of the neighborhood, supporting emotional investment through partnership with civic entities. Combined these systems build bridges between low and high risk community members to create healthy, safe neighborhoods.


The project team pursued a number of lines of inquiry through secondary research and conducted a series of intercept interviews, expert interviews and participant observations, to better understand the context in which the Chicago Project is nested and also the beliefs of people in CeaseFire neighborhoods. The appendix chronicles the generation of actionable principles from the research data and the building of systems of concepts.


The User Journey diagram shows four subsystems of Olive Branch function with their own paths and goals. And the Ten Types concept map was used to test whether concepts tackled each problem with robust variety.

Final Results

The solution is a participatory communications platform that connects to community motivations to encourage all residents to participate, while ensuring their safety. See more details in the final reports and presentation.



Vijay Kumar
Amanda Geppert
Apeksha Garga
HyeKyung Yoo
James Barton
Kristine Angell
Shivani Mohan