The Butterfly Effect – Building cross-cultural trust in your community, one delightful activity at a time

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The Butterfly Effect –
Building cross-cultural trust in your community, one delightful activity at a time

The Butterfly Effect creates opportunities for strangers to share delightful experiences with people from different cultures, laying the foundation for increased empathy and stronger local support networks.

MA1 – Team 3

Shiting Zhou
Tianjie Meng
Wing Yee Chung
Yuewen Yu
Sarayu Agarwal
Helene Benz


WHAT? 

Tell us what the concept is about. What are you designing? What are the key benefits?

The Butterfly Effect creates opportunities for strangers to share delightful experiences with people from different cultures, laying the foundation for increased empathy and stronger local support networks.

We believe that by bringing diverse people together under a common denominator of a mutual interest and shared experience, we reduce anonymity and increase the feeling of familiarity to inspire interpersonal trust.

Our three main service touch-points include:
1. An app that creates initial connections between people from different countries.
2. The in-person activity that promotes a fun and positive relationship.
3. The “digital garden”, a public art installation, that allows the community to see a live-visualization of these micro-interactions that are improving cross-cultural trust in their city.

WHY? 

Tell us some of the key findings of your background research and what is the problem you are trying to address.

PROBLEM
How might we improve the agency of culturally-diverse people in the UK to connect, and ultimately trust each other?

1. Immigration and ethnic diversity are projected to greatly increase in the UK. Between mid-2016 and mid-2026, it is projected that 5.2 million people will immigrate long-term to the UK. By 2061, Black, Asian and other minority ethnic groups will make up 30% of the UK – up from 8% in 2001. https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/populationandmigration/populationprojections/bulletins/nationalpopulationprojections/2016basedstatisticalbulletin  
https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2010/jul/13/uk-population-growth-ethnic-minorities

2. The relationship between diversity and social trust has been proven to be negative in the United States (not yet studied in Western European countries). So, the more diverse a community is, the less likely individuals in it are to be trusting of each other, and less likely to be politically or communally involved.
https://migrationobservatory.ox.ac.uk/resources/briefings/immigration-diversity-and-social-cohesion/

3. Among other resettling issues, there is a deep psychological impact on immigrants. When moving to a new place, immigrants feel a loss of the familiar, including language, social structures, support networks, cultural and social norms. This creates a sense of alienation and mistrust of one’s surroundings and people. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1414713

4. Host communities are also impacted. In the face of increasing community diversity, people tend to create social circles with people from similar cultural and educational backgrounds (also known as the “in-group effect”).
https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/abs/10.1086/683144?mobileUi=0&journalCode=ajshttps://duepublico2.uni-due.de/servlets/MCRFileNodeServlet/duepublico_derivate_00043418/Vu_Dung_Diss.pdf

5. At the same time, individuals value diverse networks but feel barriers to connecting to people from different cultures due to language and cultural differences, uncertainty about how the other person will react, and a lack of opportunities to connect.
– Insight from our user interviews

6. Cross-cultural trust is a complex issue, and falls at the intersection of environmental, societal and interpersonal dimensions. First, Environmental factors that create a trustworthy experience include physical safety, spatial awareness, and way-finding. Second, Societal factors include signals of openness and the freedom of expression to talk and discuss. Third, Interpersonal factors include being able to share personal details and stories, and feeling supported by the other person.
– Insight from our user interviews

WHO? 

Tell us something about your users and key stakeholders involved.

Our users are culturally diverse people, specifically those who have immigrated to a new country and those who are native to that country, who value diverse social networks, but feel barriers to connecting to others from different countries and cultures. Our target age range for interviews are people in their 20s and 30s, but the service is welcoming of all ages.

Our keys stakeholders are government agencies and private partners who market our service and provide meeting locations.

WHEN? 

Give us an idea of the future scenario where your project will be working. 

In the wake of improved freedom of movement across borders, increased displacement, and forced migration, future cities will be more culturally diverse than ever before. This will necessitate a social infrastructure that is accepting of all immigrants, is empathetic to their varying needs, and creates opportunities to build trust networks with culturally diverse individuals. With the rise of populism across the world, and increased intolerance towards immigrant communities, the time is just right to introduce a service that values our differences and celebrates our ability to come together.

WHERE? 

Tell us if you have thought of a specific location where to prototype.

We believe London, or a similarly culturally diverse city, would be an ideal location to prototype. Though our research is based in the UK, we think most urban centers will see similar patterns of immigration and increasing cultural diversity.

HOW? 

Give us an idea of your strategy, your process, your prototyping plan and the next steps.

The Butterfly Effect Team is very willing to follow up and turn The Butterfly Effect into a reality. We’re passionate about facilitating social cohesion in diverse societies and strongly believe in the power of social trust to turn communities around.

Our prototyping plan is below:
1. Build the Alpha version of the butterfly effect app
2. Select a neighbourhood, and determine a couple of initial meeting areas (non-partnered coffee shop or park)
3. Invite users in that neighbourhood to sign up to the app and connect with strangers from other cultures in the community
4. Facilitate in-person activity
5. Post meet interviews to understand any other barriers to fostering trust when meeting in-person, to measure the effectiveness of the activity, and their overall experience
6. Workshops to determine ways to transition from moralistic trust (trust in strangers) to experiential trust (trust in friends and family, built up over time) and improve overall service usage and relevance

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