Rina Shumylo


Personalised service for refugees powered by natural language processing


Problem Space

Climate change is one of the greatest threats to human security and mobility. The UN Refugee Agency estimates that by 2050, up to 250 million people will be displaced by climate change impacts such as rising sea levels, floods, famine, drought, hurricanes, desertification and the negative impacts on ecosystems. Beyond natural disasters though, climate change serves as a 'threat multiplier' as food and water insecurity and competition over resources provoke or exacerbate conflict and compound displacement. Europe alone could see an increase from 28% to upwards of 188% in asylum requests from environmental refugees by the end of the century.

We were asked to explore complex systems, questions and opportunities, envision desired futures, and then design and prototype services that help communities in Copenhagen transition to futures where there is better support for climate refugees.



The team made wide range research to find insights and opportunity areas.


[1] Climate Refugees

The team started exploring climate change migration worldwide with desk research and talks to experts from International Organization of Migration, Climate Refugees and Airbnb Open Homes. Then in-depth interviews were conducted with people who experienced huge natural disasters (Hurricane Sandy, Hurricane Maria, and Santa Rosa Fires).


[2] Migration in Denmark

Then the team narrowed down to Denmark and more specifically to Copenhagen to dig deeper into the problem and investigate how the current system works for refugees. The team conducted in-depth interviews with the organisations that work with immigrants and refugees (DFUNK, KVINFO, Sjakket, Global Hagen Cafe, and AHHA!) and intercept interviews with refugees and newcomers at International House, Nørrebro Library, and Trampoline House.


[3] Insights and Opportunities

The research process lead to discovering insights that challenged the team’s assumptions and guided the ideation process:


The research showed that there are multiple opportunities for refugees provided by NGOs, private companies and government organizations. However, it is overwhelming and hard for refugees to navigate through scattered services. This completely changed the direction from wanting to create a new service as an addition to existing ones to designing a holistic ecosystem that connects other systems and involves different stakeholders to open new value and benefits for refugees, organizations and partners.

The challenge was to explore how we might guide newly arrived refugees through the multiple and scattered opportunities — provided by private companies, NGOs, and government organizations — in a way that acknowledges their individual needs and helps to ease the transition.



To prototype this service experience the team decided to focus on designing touchpoints — the app and a welcome kit — for refugees as this space has more frictions and challenges.

Co-creation sessions and testing different fidelity prototypes were conducted to simulate the experience and get feedback from the user and the partner organisations. We made further iterations to tailor the service and its “trustpoints”.


The Hatch Service

Hatch is a service for climate refugees that unifies access to all their available opportunities from private companies, NGOs, and government organisations. Hatch supplies climate refugees with personalised services, providing what they need, tailored to them as individuals and their unique situations. Hatch delivers a customized welcome kit filled with tangible goods and connects them directly to relevant services and organizations through the app.

For the partners, Hatch provides a framework to specifically target newcomers who need their services. The system helps to save time and other resources to get access to their audience, establish the first contact, and host conversations through one channel.

Hatch-Service Blueprint.jpg

The Hatch app

The Hatch app works as an assistant app that is equipped with natural language processing. A chatbot asks the refugee tailored questions, so that the service knows the users’ specific needs. Hatch will match the user with a selected network of organizations, providing programs and services for integration, volunteering, and employment. Furthermore, the system assists in getting into contact with organizations — consolidating conversations and meetings in one place — transforming a once-complicated process into a friendly and personal experience.


The Welcome Kit

Hatch delivers a highly personalized welcome kit — equipped with necessities that suit refugees’ needs and situations. The items in the kit would be sourced from brand partners and businesses. The kit assists the transition and helps connect with the local culture and community.



The 2019 Interaction Awards / Shortlist for 2 categories - Connecting and Optimizing.

The Danish Design Awards 2019 / Finalist for category Young Talent.


Hatch was made with a lot of coffee in collaboration with Abhishek Kumar, Juliana Lewis, Raphael Katz, and Sareena Avadhany at CIID under the guidance of Eilidh Dickson and Francesca Desmarais.