What We’re Reading: How to Develop a Human-Centered Design Mindset

It’s official, human-centered design is a hot topic in the development space! There seem to be more people writing about it than are actually doing it, though.

Check out the latest article from Devex on “How to develop a human-centered design mindset” 

Jocelyn Wyatt, Executive Director of Ideo, sat down with Devex to discuss the most common shoulder shrug reaction that we hear in response human-centered design: “Well, that’s just good development.”

True! It’s not necessarily new, but it’s definitely not universally applied.   Check out Jocelyn’s reflections here:

 

 

Unreasonable Says “Forget Pitching. Tell a Story. Here’s How!”

The Unreasonable Institute’s CEO Teju Ravilochan facilitated the Scale X Design Accelerator‘s final core lab on pitching last week. This article was one of the pre-reads for the teams before the session. The teams will work on their pitch over the next few months to prepare for the Scale X Design Challenge, a first-of-its-kind event in January in New York City!

Forget Pitching. Tell A Story. Here’s How!

What We’re Reading: Why Social Ventures Need Systems Thinking

New Profit‘s Founder & CEO, Vanessa Kirsch, and Board Chairman, Jeff Walker, published a piece in Harvard Business Review entitled “Why Social Ventures Need Systems Thinking” over the summer. With co-author Jim Bildner of Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation, they coin the term “systems entrepreneurs” to characterize a critical element of New Profit’s evolved approach and the future of social problem solving: “The work our entrepreneurs face today is more complex than ever and requires a set of tools and a framework designed to address the complexity inherent when innovations are integrated into existing systems like school districts, welfare agencies, health departments, and corporate structures.” What are your thoughts on systems thinking in social ventures?

What We’re Reading: Getting to Scale: How to Bring Development Solutions to Millions of Poor People

At 356 pages of fairly dense writing, you’d hardly call it a page turner. But if you’re a global development practitioner, you might have hard time putting it down.

Getting to Scale: How to Bring Development Solutions to Millions of Poor People looks at the hard truths of how few development solutions go to scale and provides the most in-depth analysis and evidence on the topic that we’ve seen so far. Read, enjoy and share your thoughts on scale with us!

Getting to Scale: How Bring Development Solutions to Millions of Poor People. By Laurence Chandy (Editor), Akio Hosono (Editor), Homi Kharas (Editor), Johannes Linn (Editor)

What’s the “poison pill” that prevents pilots from going to scale?

What’s the “poison pill” that prevents pilots from going to scale? According to scaling expert Larry Cooley, it’s complexity.

We’ve been thinking a lot about how to reduce complexity in order to achieve scale. In fact, “How do we reduce cost and complexity?” is key design question #4 that we explore in our Designing for Scale lab in the accelerator.

We’re big fans of MSI’s Scaling Up Toolkit, which Cooley co-authored.  Check out this great interview clip with Cooley from Devex and the rest of the article here:

What We’re Reading: Scaling Up Excellence

Another book that helped us think about design question #3 – “What is the optimal fidelity for scale?” – is Scaling Up Excellence, by Robert I. Sutton and Huggy Rao.

“The first major business book devoted to this universal and vexing challenge” – Amazon

The authors walk us through decades of case studies on how various companies and initiatives found the right place on the continuum of customization versus replication as they scaled.

Continuum

 

My favorite part? This little bit of wisdom:

“Organizations that scale well are filled with people who talk and act as if they are in the middle of a manageable mess.”

The wall of crazy is slowly taking over

Well hey… if office space is a reflection of this sentiment, then maybe the Accelerator is well on its way!

messy office
What exactly were we thinking?