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Design Thinking: Getting Started
Transcript of Design Thinking: Getting Started
Using Human-Centered Design Thinking for Social Enterprise Solutions to Poverty
C. Sara Minard, PhD.
Basic Principles of Design Thinking
myths about problems and people, and imagining solutions that work in different contexts, for different ends, with humans at center
the inherent capacity and creativity of all people to design solutions to their own problems
do the simple and the obvious. Integrative thinking.
frameworks for interpreting real needs and desires of users and turning latent assets into resources.
Empathy is rooted in Context
Participatory Observation Research
Introductions and Video "On Fire"
First steps: Observation & Empathy
Empathy Mapping: Checking Assumptions
Defining problems, finding questions
Moving from Inspiration to Ideation
Power of Inquiry:
How Might We?
Grameen Case: Human-centered models
Applied in practice
Synthesis and Discussion
Knowing User Context
informed by experience, and
, seeing what's in plain sight, then collecting and synthesizing data, and being willing to try (and fail).
Through the multiple human-centered design thinking lenses
By developing deep empathy for your target user as customer...
Working iteratively based on what already exists to prototype or improve a product or service
Leveraging curiosity for new forms of participation throughout the process
From Observation to Problem Framing
Think of people as users of design with basic needs
Go off the beaten path
Start where you are (spaces)
Local staff are everything; use social networks
Ask questions, and more questions
Threshold mapping, tipping points
Draft "choice architecture" where capabilities of users and design potential for future use overlaps
Design thinking in research helps us understand the boundaries of normal user behaviors and check our assumptions. To do this, we need to understand the contexts in which things will be used and the range of likely conditions that will change the context in some way.
Empathy in the field
Empathy starts with first being open to experience and learning about yourself
Connect emotionally with the people you are designing for/with, in order to best understand the problems and realities of their lives and their hopes/dreams -- this requires MORAL IMAGINATION.
Develop an empathy map
From empathy maps, we develop lenses to frame a problem as an opportunity.
People should accept any product that satisfies their basic needs
Poor people can't afford good design
If it's affordable, who cares what it looks like?
If it works, who cares what its made from?
Designers are trained architects or tech nerds who chose form over function and wear black turtle necks and cool glasses
Design Thinking for Social Enterprise is...
of a system
that illustrates the key business elements and relationships in the social enterprise
A map or
model of the idea
, within the larger ecosystem (policy)
Storytelling and drawing
so everyone's ideas on value creation opportunities can be seen and heard, discussed and eventually incorporated
What you want to say
and how you want to draw it--who? how much/many? where? when? why is it important?
Re-drawn framework (
several times) until the team feels it represents what it wants to say in a robust way.
Note -- not all challenges require design thinking
(8 min video)
Synthesis, Evaluating and Prototyping
Exploring the commonalities, differences, and relationships between the information you have gathered, in order to find meaning.
Meaning, in HCD, is derived from linking quotes from interviews, observations and insights to find themes from patterns.
Regroup this data under new titles and move to identify market opportunities.
Goal is to "
optimize the surface area
" (Chipchase) with both the breadth and depth, pressure, layers and texture [of the social market ecosystem].
Move from observing to creating to implementing
without reflecting on the business case can lead to mission creep, or worse, business failure.
When in doubt, go back to the empathy map.
What you know (and don't know) about your customers is what they tell you.
Never Stop Listening or Learning.
Practice Idea Precision
Evaluating Outcomes Based on the User Benefits and Choices
Engage as many of your stakeholders as possible in designing your strategic implementation plan.
Work to define what "success" and "impact" look like from these multiple user perspectives.
Develop an implementation and evaluation plan that includes a mix of qualitative and quantitative methods
Always [market] test your design solution in the field
Map out the distribution channels
Map out the capabilities required, knowing those of your immediate team and your partners will determine feasibility of implementation
Past success is no guarantee of future results; local context and participation counts
Competition-Collaboration Analysis: which partners are better positioned than we are for these (X) steps?
Storytelling and Learning
User-centered visual narratives transform audiences and build trust and brand value.
HCD focus is on empathy of the user and the behavioral complexity of the problem. Visual evidence will prove the potential for success among the local community ("seeing is believing for farmers" )
For funders, info-graphics linked to mission, vision and values will resonate
Theory to Practice:
"Problem-Driven Iterative Adaptation"
(Woolcock and Andrews)
1. Common belief in complexity with the humility that 'getting it right' doesn't happen the first time.
2. Includes multidisciplinary research (ideas) into relevant human and institutional factors.
3. Venture approach: the first iteration of "what the problem actually is" sometimes results in a change of project objectives or scope.
4. Feedback from the given 'system' is collected continuously in multiple forms, and used to constantly iterate the outputs in response.
Applied to Social Enterprise Models
right price point
given the costs to produce?
Is there a
value creating role
for Public Subsidy, Venture Philanthropy, Community Investment, Crowd-funding?
Design thinking helps us to ask deeper, better questions that expand the boundaries of what the market (re)search tells us.
Drills down to the essence of
what matters to people
(and planet) by welcoming life has uncertainties, and where someone else can contribute ideas, at every step of process, and learn from failure.
From Ideation to Prototyping
Building off of your empathy map, talk out the process of bringing your idea to your target user. What can you say so far about the user?
When are clear structures or relationships between things?
DRAW what people are saying.
Leave time to re-draw until it really represents what you want to say.
'Mind the Gaps':
Critical Notes on Design Thinking
Great concepts and great vision are not enough to make and deliver an effective solution (product or service).
Many social enterprises and NGOs are extremely resource-constrained and are unable to follow through on overly conceptual designs.
Design thinkers must recognize the challenges around implementation in complex, changing systems, and deliver comprehensive prototypes with clear implementation plans, not test on communities with little choice.
Participation is tyranny when you force people to participate in someone else's reality
(Robert Chambers). Design thinking is participatory, and requires self-awareness and cultural humility.
Archive: Existing records/lists, historical tracking
Case research / Process tracing
Structured/Semi-structured participant observation
Focus groups, workshops
Diaries, journals, self-reported checklists
is key to the successful (i.e., sustainable scalable) design of social innovations
Qualitative methods (observation) allows for in-depth analysis of local context and history. This helps predict risk and opens up creative possibilities for imagined futures (
Feedback loops (
) ensure accountability and learning. If iteration is well-documented, it can improve the ability for effective monitoring and evaluation of the (
Emphasizes importance of DISCOVERY in advance of solution generation using market research
Works to EXPANDS THE BOUNDARIES of both problem definition and our solutions
Emphasizes ENGAGING PARTNERS in co-creation
Committed to REAL WORLD EXPERIMENTS rather than running analysis using historical data
Puts the HUMAN in the designer seat
Policies, institutions, power dynamics, attitudes
Problem Tree: Building Blocks
“A word of caution: There is an unfortunate tendency to use phrases such as ‘lack of education or knowledge’ for causes. Stating problems as a lack of something presupposes the solutions. A problem is not the absence of a solution but an existing negative state: ‘Crops are infested with pests’ is a problem; ‘No pesticides are available’ is not.” – CARE Handbook
Problem Tree: Language
“Flipside” of the problem tree, with negative statements reworded into positive statements. This tree describes their vision for the future
Working from the bottom upwards, the problem tree’s cause-effect relationships become means-end relationships in the objective tree.
Problems: ‘If cause is A, then the effect is B’
Objectives: ‘We must do X in order to achieve Y’
If this logic does not work, REWORD!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5k0qMBPeYHE (Starts 2:06 to 4:30)
What’s the problem here?
Focuses on context
Integrated, systems approach
“Causal Analysis is a systematic process to determine causes and consequences of a problem and to link them based on cause and effect relationships” - CARE
What is causal analysis?
What do you know about the world of the "user"?
How does their world make you feel or motivate you to act?
What other points of view are necessary to round out your own point of view of them (checking your assumptions)?
What myriad of solutions do you need/want to test?
How do we observe?
Benefits of Design Thinking for
Effective Development Practice
"Design has its greatest impact when it's taken out of the hands of designers and put in the hands of everyone....In these times of change we need new choices because our existing solutions have become obsolete."
How Might We?
Inquiry. The First Step in Design Thinking:
What is the question that we
want to ask, or should be asking?
Imagine a sustainable [market] system
Why has Design Thinking become central to
Development Practice & Social Entrepreneurship?
• Growing interest in entrepreneurship & market-based approaches in which organizations are increasingly targeting users as consumers not beneficiaries (ex. Proximity Design)
• Low engagement with and adoption of new interventions in critical communities due to a failure to understand target users and their context (ex. CGAP)
• Multiple solutions targeting the same markets and user groups such as smallholder farmers, community health workers, and adolescent girls, without integrative strategies for providers or end-users. (ex MDGHA Community Health Worker +)
• New communication and collaboration technologies that allow organizations to source creative ideas more easily and rapidly and collaborate with diverse communities. (ex. OpenIDEO)
Complex, Structural and Political
Process of structural societal transformation and change
Achieving human capabilities to choose a life they have reason to value
Economic prosperity and social justice
Institutional adaptation to meet the needs of society while not compromising future generation (sustainability)
How does it apply to Development Practice?
‘Development’ is a concept which is contested both theoretically and politically, and is inherently both complex and ambiguous ... ... Recently [it] has taken on the limited
meaning of the practice of development agencies, especially in aiming at reducing poverty and the Millennium Development Goals. (Thomas, 2004: 1, 2; adapted from Sumner, 2007)
- Is "development" a goal?
- Are choice and development in
- Can development be both
individual and collective?
- What makes a society "developed"?
("Hidden in Plain Sight" by Jan Chipchase, 2010)
"Might" invites creativity and
yes,and thinking (vs. no, but...) to idea generation and problem solving
Framing the Problem & Opportunity
Mini-Case Grameen Bank
Video 1 (Problem/History, 3:16):
Video 2 (Grameen model, 5:30):