Honours year applied research project

I first identified an problematic issue with no successful solutions. To define the context, a literature review, and qualitative research were conducted. From these, I was able to produce a design proposal which was deliberately design solution agnostic.  The Milky Way is the result.

Although breastfeeding is good for mother and baby, public health outcomes, and the economy, breastfeeding rates in developed countries are, alarmingly, lower than World Health Organisation (WHO) Guidelines. 

It is known that supporting the mother, and positive breastfeeding visibility are strong factors in initiation and continuation of breastfeeding. Breastfeeding stops, or never even starts, when women feel judged and unsupported. Return to work has been shown to be one strong reason why women stop breastfeeding their child. Currently, workplace culture in Australia is hostile to breastfeeding women. Mothers feel unsupported, and even shame, for their continued efforts.

The Milky Way is a tool that will reverse this culture, one conversation at a time. It is a set of 33 cards that are a gamified culture change tool. It is a practical method for employers to plan support that suits the needs of the mother within the context of their workplace. Players use the tool to have a conversation about preparing for maternity leave and return to work. It is designed for purposefully adaptable use, to give a framework for employers, and their staff, to work together in a way that feels psychologically safe. This framework guides players to convince themselves to change their own negative opinions, and reassures players who are worried about change and how much is required. The players will positively change workplace culture, co-creating a solution for their workplace policy themselves.

The Milky Way should increase the likelihood of women starting and continuing to breastfeed, normalising breastfeeding visibility. Normalising visibility will reduce negative attitudes and increase acceptance. Women will feel supported and improved breastfeeding rates should rise. 

Packaging was designed after the cards were presented for assessment. It is made from cardboard and paper, with neodymium magnets in the front and back for a smooth closure with secure hold. It is designed to display each Stage, unified yet separate, to help people see how to start use. Packaging can serve to encourage positive associations with games, and anticipate a more open mindset brought about by play. Although these were the design intentions and have received positive feedback, the packaging itself has not undergone testing in context by intended users.