The session was an introduction to Design Thinking, Human Centered Design and business modelling; concepts popularized by IDEO in 2009 that laid out how and why human-centered design can impact the social sector. According to Tim Brown, President of IDEO:
“Design thinking is a human-centered approach to innovation that draws from the designer’s toolkit to integrate the needs of the people, the possibilities of technology and the requirements for business success.”
Put simply, Human Centered Design is a way of thinking that values process over product. The process is constantly optimized through feedback and recognizable patterns that emerge when the process is consistently repeated.
One of the examples that was given of a well-designed process was to address the following questions in the following sequence:
- Why (demand)
For example, you are proposing a vacation to your significant other:
- Why? You are both hard-working people deserving of a break, you need a vacation.
- How? You will book some days off and purchase plane tickets etc.
- What? The outcome is an enjoyable vacation where you will feel re-energized.
If any of these questions were out of sequence, the whole process would not make logical sense.
Let’s look at how Human Centered Design applies to the work we do, in developing affordable housing. Although developing affordable housing is complex and arduous, it can also simplified in a process:
- Why? Housing is a human right, and a significant amount of people are in need of stable housing.
- How? Minimize project and operating costs.
- What? Diversified neighbourhoods, relief on the shelter system, attainable social good.