Project Description

Danny Spitzberg

Lead Researcher, Turning Basin Labs

Danny Spitzberg is a user researcher for a co-operative economy. He is currently developing a model for worker-led research with TurningBasinLabs.com, a staffing and training co-op.

Speaking at the conference

Monday, September 27, 10:05-10:50 am PST

Who Leads in Participatory Research? Following Ridehail Drivers to File 5,600 Wage Claims

How do gig workers get back lost wages? We as volunteer designers and researchers facilitated out a one-year, worker-led effort to identify and streamline workflows. By facilitating and then following ridehail drivers doing research on wage claim processes and earnings data, Danny and his team transformed a two-hour in-person filing process down to 45min with a custom spreadsheet and a peer, and finally to 15min with a web app. And by leveraging driver and rider networks seeking ways to support one another, especially under COVID-19, our efforts resulted in workers filing 5,600 claims worth $1.3B total. This session shares a story and strategy for research and design in the face of burdened, conflicted, or captured and oppositional government services. It narrates the process over a year of collaboration, highlights worker-led pivots, and offers lessons for how to build accountable relationships and follow worker leadership – two tenets of community and labor organizing. The result is a model for participatory research and co-design that builds capacity for economic justice.

Key Takeaways:

  • Co-design have an increasingly positive reputation, but that comes mainly from the minority of cases in which participants and beneficiaries lead the process and make the decisions.
  • The requirements for that kind of leadership is a trusted relationship, which take time and persistence.
  • In the case of government service delivery, time and relationships and leadership provided a container in which a group of volunteer researchers and service recipients co-designed the necessary improvements.
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