Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Human-Centered Design

This past weekend at ASB Un-Plugged Impact we worked with social entrepreneurs in India who are facing "wicked problems".  The enterprises are mostly small, for example a designer who is working with local women making handmade products, an industrial hemp company, an organization that builds model villages in rural India, an enterprise that is revolutionizing the reintegration into society of victims of sex trafficking and so on.  We went through a Design Thinking process over 2 days to look at questions such as "How can we define and measure our impact?", "how can we keep farmers safe in times of crisis?" and "how can we educate adolescent girls to bridge the gap between their aspirations and community expectations?"  The idea was that we would professionally develop our teachers, using authentic issues, so that they could use Design Thinking to approach any challenge in school, be it curriculum, spaces, processes or systems.  At the same time we were living ASB's mission, to enhance the lives of others.

On my return to school on Monday I received an email sharing a link to a great resource - that I am now sharing in turn.  The Field Guide to Human-Centered Design is a full-color, 192-page book from IDEO.  It's licensed under a creative commons licence, and you can download a PDF of the book by taking a short survey.  Human-centred design is all about believing that all problems are solvable and that the people who face these problems every day are the ones who hold the key to the solutions that the world needs, such as gender inequality, poverty and the lack of clean water.  This process goes through 3 phases:  inspiration where you build empathy, ideation where you generate ideas and design new solutions and implementation where you maximize the impact of the solutions in the world.  The book contains 57 methods and a variety of exercises and activities that work through getting a design challenge onto the market.

To download your own copy of the Field Guide Design Kit click here.

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