Designing a community learning tool for a small town library
In 2019, over six months, my IDEO team and I designed a digital product, brand, and new approach for a public library system in South Bend, Indiana to serve its community, called Bendable.
Bendable is a community-curated learning platform for South Bend that connects the community with relevant learning opportunities — especially ones that help people prepare for the changing world of work.
The ways people learn and work are shifting fast in the United States. Students just out of school who planned to follow in their parent’s footsteps now need a new plan, and late-career professionals must start over when their employer moves a factory out of town. The resilience and the capacity to navigate that world will come from acquiring new skills and new community connections. Continuous, lifelong skill-building is the new norm.
Bendable is a community-curated learning platform. It contains learning that comes from anywhere— a Youtube video, an online course, a course at your local community college, a book at the library, or another resource like a TED talk or podcast. The content is organized into “collections” by residents in the community. A high school economics teacher might make a learning collection with resources to learn from before you open your first credit card. Or a hiring manager at a manufacturing plant might make a collection of the learning you should do to ace a job interview at his company. Or a pastor might make one about how to be a more patient parent.