Street Team Training: Preparing to listen

Human Centered Design prioritizes talking to and collaborating with the people who are most likely to be affected by a new program or service improvement.

Review this post for more information on empathizing with end users and defining the problem.

In mid January, organizations from across Western and Central New York came together for street team training. A street team is a method being used by the Aging By Design team to gain insights on a given population that structured face-to-face interactions with a short set of survey questions on community, belonging, independence, and the wisdom of hindsight.

Over 15 street teams will be out in their communities over the next two weeks asking questions aimed at understanding how support networks are built and how perceptions of aging have changed.

“What makes you feel like you are part of a community?”

“What do you think about now that you didn’t think about 15-20 years ago?”

The purpose of the street team survey is to encourage organizations to have conversations with older adults where they congregate – at the store, in coffeeshops, and other community spaces.

Organizations conducting the street team activities are asked to follow the format of the survey, but explore the stories and ideas shared by those they speak with. Street teams work in pairs, making it possible for one person to lead the conversation while the other takes notes.

With each new step of Aging by Design we hope to gain a better, more holistic understanding of our aging community as the ultimate goal of our project is to give older adults a voice in the future of services and supports for aging populations, while helping to shape it for the rest of us that will follow.

If you have further questions on the street team surveys please visit our website at

For more information on Aging By Design, visit