Sunday, 8 May 2011

Social Business and Human Centric Innovation

An important part of this master is to learn how to apply the Design Thinking approach into the Social Business context.

“Design thinking is a human-centered approach to innovation that draws from the designer's toolkit to integrate the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for business success.” —Tim Brown, president and CEO of IDEO.

With the aim to achieve our goal of creating design solutions for the BOP, we have been working with Marta Lago-Arenas , an engineer and designer from Gravity Spain, a design firm that uses the following Design Thinking process based on Human Centric Innovation:

Understanding à Observe à Synthesis à Ideation à Prototyping à Test (image by Gravity)

For now, we have been working on the first two phases of this scheme and will continue with the rest when we meet Marta again in June.

The preliminary step to a innovation driven project is to adopt some good practices such as team empathy and capacity to develop a shared point of view, a dedicated and organized workspace where visual and analog working methods can take place, the use of storytelling to communicate and an optimized time plan for the project.

We then start debriefing and an initial desktop research is done to gather information on the subject, understand the challenge and prepare for the field research. With this preliminary output in hand, it is key to set a human centered goal that is nor too wide nor too narrow.

Once the project statement is clear, an observation plan must be developed which will include the tools and interview guides that are going to be used on-field and the profiles to be observed. The stakeholder’s map will help identify the profiles to approach (other than the stakeholders is important to also talk to extreme users and experts). A mind map starting from the goal can also be very useful to identify the themes and tools that best suit the needs. The list of tools that can be used is vast:

image by Gravity

Here quality wins over quantity since the goal is to understand and not get statistical approval. During this phase, knowing how to observe people and their surroundings is essential to generate useful insights and to spot opportunities. Be surprised, reconsider you point of view, discover!

With a plan in hands, it is time to go to the field and put into action. In this second phase, it is crucial to have a fresh mind set and to capture your impressions asap, ideally after each session, and to dedicate the same amount of time that you spend during observation in discussing, interpreting, comparing and sharing it with your team.

In the next days, we are going to present how our team is applying this methodology in the Bienestar Healthcare Project in Colombia.

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