Seedlinks helps people who care contribute to their communities. The platform leverages data and the digital world to encourage action in one’s local community and measure impact. It serves as a space for neighbors to identify local community challenges, create and contribute to local projects, share knowledge, and nurture relationships.

Presented at Microsoft Faculty Research Summit, Design Expo 2013
Team members: Brynn Flynn, Jiwon Paik & Wenni Zhou

Exploratory Research

This project began with a prompt from Microsoft to explore the theme, “Making data useful: Improving your life, community, and world.” Interested in volunteerism, the team mapped the stakeholders involved and value exchange within this space.

To begin the research process, the team volunteered at a variety of local non-profits to understand the process of becoming involved in the community. The team also conducted in depth interviews with non-profit leaders, current volunteers and previously engaged volunteers.

Emotional mapping was used to understand the process for new volunteers.


The team synthesized initial finding from the research and developed several guiding principles: Keep it local, social and personal; leverage the crowd; show the big picture; provide feedback and learning opportunities.


Applying these guiding principles, the team moved into concept development and began formulating the concept behind Seedlinks.


The team prototyped their concept and tested for user validation. Through this validation the team discovered the need to incorporate trust, social motivation, and continual learning opportunities in the final design.

Usability Testing

The final design was refined through testing with users.

Final Design

At its core, Seedlinks is driven by data. This data comes from several different places including publicly available community data, personal data pulled in from places like Facebook or Linkedin and data collected through Seedlinks. Building on this data Seedlinks supports users throughout the process of creating, nurturing, and celebrating projects.

The website supports learning and planning while the mobile app enables on-site support for community service events.

When community members create a project, the system maximizes their chances for success by using previously collected data.Tips and tutorials are offered to increase the potential for new project success.