Santa Monica College Delivers Interaction Design Challenge for Bird

When Bird first launched in 2017, some of our very first riders were students at Santa Monica College (SMC). SMC is a neighbor with a very unique program: it’s the only Community College in California that offers a Bachelor’s Degree in Interaction Design (IxD).

Through the IxD program, students have the opportunity to collaborate with brands to solve real-world challenges. For their senior capstone project, students partnered with Bird to develop ideas for a real-world challenge: how might we design a sustainable and equitable Bird loyalty program specifically for students at SMC?

SMC is a commuter college with multiple campuses. The majority of residents live outside of Santa Monica and drive or use public transportation to attend class. 

The first half of the semester was spent researching, using a variety of methodologies they’d learned during their course at SMC and beyond. Then the students moved on to prototyping and validating their ideas. 

Prototype ideas ranged from virtual reality systems to gamifying rides for meaningful student incentives. The ideas were impressive and grounded in research from their fellow students. 

“The IxD program really values working with industry partners because they take the classroom experience to the next level. With Bird, our students got their first taste of what it’s like working with one of the world’s most compelling start-ups trying to solve a tremendous global problem. And as an added bonus, we’re neighbors—so it’s a win-win for our shared home of Santa Monica”, said Luke Johnson, the students’ IxD professor and guide through the class.

The program wrapped in June, with final presentations taking place in front of a panel of SMC faculty and Bird stakeholders at Santa Monica College. The presentations fostered conversations around growth and continuing partnerships to reduce traffic and increase livability in Santa Monica. Investing in programs such as SMC, gives individuals the power to engage with Bird in real time, so they can have a voice in creating safer, people-friendly streets. We look forward to continuing these conversations and partnering for a more sustainable tomorrow.

Thank you to all of the faculty and students who were involved in this program and to learn more about SMC’s Interaction Design program, visit their website.