Here at the Scale x Design Accelerator, we are big believers in human centered design and design thinking. In fact, one of our core Labs (formerly called simply Human Centered Design and now re-born as Mindsets and Methods for Innovation) is centered around the subjects. However, you don’t have to be an Accelerator finalist to unlock these critical skills and mindsets!
IDEO.org is currently offering two free courses through +Acumen: A 7-week Introduction to Human Centered Design and a 4-week Prototyping course. Click on the links for more information and act quickly! Registration closes soon – “In partnership with Plus Acumen, IDEO.org offers this course for individuals looking to learn more about the human-centered design process. Both courses opened on May 9, 2017, but they are still open for registration so don’t miss out on this opportunity. ”
If you were able to watch our introduction video, you know that one of our hypotheses for why it takes the development sector a long time to scale is that we’re often using our project cycles to test new adaptations of our innovations. When we launch a “pilot,” that can mean waiting for two-three years to get feedback and course correct at the midterm evaluation.
While we might need to wait until the midterm to start getting hard data on impact, we don’t need to wait several years to get valuable feedback. Why design and launch a full solution, when you can run rapid tests on prototypes first?
So in our human-centered design lab, we’re thinking about how to prototype versus pilot and how this can give us just one new tool to move faster.
GRID explains how all this works in one fantastic graph
One aspect that is taking us some time to get our heads around – how do you prototype anything that’s not a product, such as services or systems? It’s still early days for applying HCD to international development, but here are some examples we love!
“Human-centered design is a creative approach to problem solving; it’s a process that starts with the people you’re designing for and ends with new solutions that are tailor made to suit their needs. Human-centered design is all about building a deep empathy with the people you’re designing for; generating tons of ideas; building a bunch of prototypes; sharing what you’ve made with the people you’re designing for; and eventually putting your innovative new solution out in the world.” –IDEO.org
Why do a lab on human-centered design?
All innovation labs, accelerators, and incubators have “user-centered” or “human-centered” approaches as a core element. They also embrace a mindset of rapid prototyping, testing, and iteration. You’ll often hear the popular phrase, “failing fast” or “failing forward, faster.” You’ll find those same threads in virtually all programs worldwide.
For the first lab session, teams are going to be introduced to these mindsets and also provided with practical tools to give them exposure to the full human-centered design process so they can immediately start doing something with it . Experts from GRID Impact will be presenting this lab. More on them in another post!
Want to learn more?
Check out this Devex article on human-centered design for development.
Watch this video where PSI staff talk about embracing the methods of HCD as part of their way of working:
We’re partnering with GRID Impactbased in Denver, Colorado for the first lab, Human-Centered Design, the teams will go through starting in early May. GRID Impact is a global research, innovation and design firm that specializes in human-centered approaches to complex social and economic challenges. They create scalable social impact in domains such as financial inclusion, sanitation, agriculture and alternative energy.
GRID Impact applies a hybrid methodology of behavioral research and design to economic and human development challenges. They combine the evidence-based insights and diagnostic approach of behavioral science with the creative problem-solving and iterative, collaborative processes of human-centered design for more predictable, longer lasting results. Ultimately, they believe this approach produces products, programs and services that respond to how human beings actually behave as well as their needs, preferences and desires.
Human-Centered Design (HCD)
Human-centered design (HCD) is a creative and adaptive problem-solving approach to bringing novel ideas to life that allows “designers” to understand how individuals will likely use and interact with a product by bringing human beings (“users”) into the process. This collaborative and participatory design process relies on rapid, iterative prototyping and design methods. Resulting designs don’t always solve the behavioral challenge – just because someone says they like a proposed solution does not mean they will use it. Data and testing are often the missing components.
Check out more of theirHCD resources on their website and look for an intro to HCD post next week.