Design Thinking Learning Webinar

so again uh good morning I’m really thrilled to be with you here today and i expressly want to shout out peter who is with us who sort of made the connection um uh i work with peter in my capacity as a lecturer at the university of torino and that program that master’s program is about the use of information and communication technologies for development ict 4d but the piece of that program that i that i oversee uh is oriented around design and so peter and i talked a little bit about what does it look like to introduce uh more and more folks to the application of design to development and humanitarian challenges and here’s uh our topic effectively for today uh i do want to note before i get started so it’s was quite an early morning for me um i have an eight month old uh and so my wife is presently asleep with my eight month old rightfully so i also have a three and a half year old and i’m monitoring my monitor of my three and a half year old so if he wakes up before my eight-month-old wakes up i have to take two minutes and run upstairs and go help orient him because he’s gonna wonder where his dad is but barring that uh we’re gonna spend about 90 minutes together today with a few interludes hopefully some interesting interludes um talking about this exactly this topic and and what again is that topic that topic is this um will someone please i thought back to the start of my sort of journey with design thinking and i realized that my journey of design doing started several years after my introduction to the concept of design thinking and it actually started when someone uh robert fabricant who previously worked for frog design now started dalberg design sat me down and finally told me what design thinking actually was is about 12 years ago because i heard the term as you may have heard the term tens hundreds maybe thousands of times people tossed it around very casually it was a catch-all for wearing a skinny tie sitting on a beanbag chair and throwing sticky notes up on the wall and i thought there’s got to be more to it than this because i’ve seen the ways in which it can be very powerful when designing and and implementing interventions and i’d also seen the ways in which it had been very much instrumentalized again to make folks feel good about sitting around on beanbag chairs and putting sticky notes on the wall so again i wondered will someone please finally tell me what design thinking actually is and i hope to do that for you and with you here today and not just that but also maybe why we should care a little bit of why we might care uh what what is it good for what does it help us do where does it fit into our vital work um and how can it augment uh the way we presently do things so a bit about me um i’m josh i spent several years at unicef running unicef’s innovations lab i went later on to care international to found and lead their research and design team which was an innovation services team for the global footprint of the organization um presently i’m a senior director and chief of staff at a domestic organization in the u.s called leadership for educational equity we’re a hybrid organization sort of hybrid non-profit and political organization that seeks to get folks elected who are going to put children and specifically education at the center of their legislative agendas um i left i took a break if you will from development after 2016 of the birth of my son it was the same year that we had an election in the u.s and i wanted to come back and kind of help fight the fight here a little bit but i’ve also run a consulting practice which continues to do work in development and humanitarian in the development humanitarian space that’s called very green grass and if you want to get in touch with me you can either find me at joshua greengrass.com send me an email or you can always tweet at me at josh harvey probably the most important thing i ride tractors i have my tractor i love riding my tractor that’s my hobby and i’m a dad um and this right here this photo on the left you might imagine uh i’m not the little one that’s my son atticus that actually that picture was taken after i had just gotten back from three weeks away uh in in um uh where was i patna in india uh and when i got back uh he this was the the first

time that he ran toward me to hug me and so i like to share this picture with everyone and again just to say um my consulting practice uh is very green grass and that’s just sort of like the container for a lot of uh consulting work that I do for un international organizations governments uh social enterprises NGOs etc so maybe the best way to learn what design is is to do some of it right we’re all i would imagine most of us on this call have designed something in the sense of we have created something we are called upon to um create entire interventions we’re called upon to create services we’re called to to create components thereof and so some of us uh most of us maybe all of us have been part of the process of solving a problem by introducing a solution to solve that problem so i want you to help me i need you to help me design uh but more than i’d like to admit i need you to help me design now i put up a picture of my son this is a picture of my daughter ada ada is about eight months old now you can see i am she’s the my my absolute darling look at those eyes um the only problem with this photo is that it was taken at three o’clock in the morning because my daughter unlike my son uh just doesn’t like to sleep ever maybe i mean maybe almost literally ever but but she’s she’s not a a talented sleeper so my wife and i are exhausted um and my daughter is occasionally cranky uh this is probably the happiest photo of her i have um but uh i need your help i need your help to figure out what to do and and to try something think for a moment by yourself you don’t have to say it out loud if you don’t want to how would you start helping me what’s the first thing you would do to help solve this problem think for a moment again by yourself take 60 seconds just to think about where you’d start and if you have an answer if you want to share your answer please chat it to me uh not privately you can shout it to me in the public channel and apologies I will inevitably uh mispronounce names tereki thank you for the offer to come to babysit what I see some folks I see some folks starting I’d get a better picture of what’s going on in your family situation I’d look at your family’s schedule uh apart from I would come to babysit for you I’d start by asking questions right I would figure out more about your situation we even see some examples of some specific questions what have you done to improve her sleeping habits so what have you tried already maybe what has been successful, uh that’s an appreciative inquiry um what does she like what doesn’t she like what makes her calm thank you for the recommendation um ask more about my specific problem with her and then we see some folks that are saying here are some things that i would just try let’s try music let’s try some warm milk so generally yeah um that seems like a great place to start i’d start by asking questions i’d start by finding out more about the problematic situation i would uh we have sort of decided together that we don’t know enough yet um to take any drastic measures we might take some small measures try some things that have worked in the past make some attempts learn from those attempts right we’ll we’ll take her for a walk we’ll bounce her a little bit does that work no okay all right we’re gonna play for a little bit more um we’re gonna sing a song we’ll see how that works um but generally what we’re doing right now is sort of prodding the situation we’re we’re poking it a little bit to see how it responds right we’re asking questions

of it we’re interrogating it we’re exploring it we’re seeking understanding you might say that we’re sensing we’re taking information in at present right okay so we’ve done our research we’ve got lots and lots of we know she uh our schedule looks like this and we know that uh we’ve got some um you know she she doesn’t love uh warm milk well she’s baby of course she loves more about do we know that she doesn’t love us to sing uh but she loves to bounce um we know that singing her music actually singing our song gets her a little bit more excited um we’ve also done some probably learned a little bit and i i didn’t see this i think i’d learn a little bit more about the environment around her the sort of context uh i would maybe record what’s going on uh during the evening oh are there loud noises every morning at three o’clock because there’s an airport nearby and a giant uh plane takes off um i would learn more about the people involved in the situation who does she spend her who puts her to bed who does she spend her evenings with um are the name what’s going on with the name do the neighbors hear her screaming when she wakes up at 3 o’clock in the morning so i’m making lots of observations right i’m i’m doing lots of interrogation i’m doing a lot of learning and that’s getting bigger and bigger and bigger i’m getting more and more inputs what do i do next what would you do next we have all of this data all of these findings what are we going to do with everything that we’ve learned about this problematic situation what’s the next thing how would you help me take 60 seconds think to yourself now that you have all of this data so much more that we can even handle right we have all these research inputs what’s the next step take 60 seconds think about that and then chat your answer to me if you if you feel uh you have something that you want to share all right oh privately that’s fine too about another 15-20 seconds ah because i see somebody has done this before i have all of these research inputs i probably have even more than i can make sense of right or or i should say i have more than i that i know what to do with i’ve interviewed 15 people and they all say i should try 15 different things i’ve done all of this i’ve recorded the audio of the entire evening and i hear some bumping around in the kitchen i hear a plane take off so on and so forth right all of these things i need to make a decision now around what from all of this information this universe of data what actually matters i’m not yet ready to try something because i don’t know yet exactly what the problem is i have lots of ideas about what the problem might be i even have some potential solutions already i have lots of let’s see we call it the precursors the inputs to the idea of what the problem might be maybe it’s the noise maybe it’s something in her schedule maybe uh she gets startled maybe i don’t the room’s too warm i have all of these findings and together i’m gonna put them together i’m gonna start to categorize them i’m going to start to make sense of all of this research all of these inputs okay so first i sensed i took in all this data now i’m going to make sense i’m going to pick out what’s salient and then i’m going to kind of come around the corner i’m gonna say okay it’s definitely the noise three o’clock every morning there is a giant and this is true uh there is a there is a very small airport nearby from which a enormous uh uh galaxy like giant

military aircraft takes off at three o’clock every morning right so i i have made some decisions around what’s happening and what is the problem or i should say what is the cause of the problem what’s driving the problem on what thing in this problematic situation do we need to intervene so now we agree 3 o’clock every morning there’s a plane taking off waking my daughter up now we know what are we going to do now what are we going to do now we agree on the problem we say or we agree on the cause of the problem my daughter’s waking up because a giant plane making a lot of noise wakes her up at three o’clock in the morning every morning what do we do next take 60 seconds and think about what we’re gonna do next so move if only do nothing that’s the non-interventionist approach nice I see people saying effectively apart from a move which unfortunately not an option I see either a recognition that um we’re going to want to come up with some ways of addressing this issue some potential solutions we’re going to ideate we’re going to generate new solutions possible solutions or i see some actual suggestions get some soundproof windows move right there are lots of things that we could do but at this stage once we’ve landed on the definition of the problem we said this is what’s happening this is what is driving this issue we’re gonna uncover some potential solutions lots of potential solutions we’re going to brainstorm we’re going to think broadly about what we can do to solve this situation and get my my little girl back to sleep and i also see this last piece we’re going to try some of those things right we’re going to see which ones work we’re going to try some soundproofing we’re going to try a white noise machine and we’re going to learn from that experience so we’re actually going to build our solution and we’re going to test it right and i don’t want to belabor the point but you see where we’re driving here just in this simple problem-solving exercise we have uncovered the origins or if not the origins a bit of a definition of design thinking it’s a way of investigating and understanding people’s needs and meeting those needs by delivering solutions full stop there are lots of ways to slice it right we could we could do many different things within that broad frame but ultimately when we talk about design thinking we’re talking about researching in order to understand to make sense of people’s needs and we’re talking about putting in place solutions uh to those needs end of story kind of there’s a little bit more than that we find that design thinking and and i need to make it so clear here part of the uh the magic of design thinking in our space is that we already do many many things in the same order that feel the same way as design thinking so if you’re hearing this definition this emerging definition don’t worry there’s more to come and you’re thinking i already do that this is how we do everything you’re right you do already do that this is how you do so many things design thinking is about not in our space design thinking is about not dramatically changing the way we do what we do but it’s about accessing opportunities to augment the way we do what we do it’s about expanding our toolkit bringing in new mental tools uh thinking tools bringing in new stances new approaches new ways of approaching or addressing a problem but it’s not a radical departure from the way development and humanitarian practice already takes place and in some ways i think that’s what makes our sector so ripe to operate in this way because it’s just a stretch it’s about doing something that is a little bit further

a little bit more than a little bit perhaps elaborated upon the work that we presently do and design thinking like our work follows a pattern and that pattern is this we start by sensing we’re taking in information from the environment you’ll see this sliced so many different ways in different design thinking handbooks and resources and and practitioners but ultimately we start by gathering information about the problematic about the problematic situation that we’re seeking to address uh with and for uh rights holders stakeholders within four people so we sensed sensing taking in information at this stage acknowledging that we can’t know what’s going to be salient what’s going to be relevant what’s going to be the the piece of information that drives the insight that gets us to a solution we don’t know yet so we take in lots and lots of information we take in we make tremendous number of observations we ask all of the questions all of the questions we can think to ask because we don’t know at this stage what’s going to make the difference in sensing but in making sense acknowledging that we have so much more information that we could possibly take advantage of we need to find a way to sort that to categorize it to filter it to begin to discover themes to begin to discover insights and those insights about the lived experience and the systems the lift experience part of the people who are involved in the problem and the systems uh that either constitute support or uh persist maintain that problem we need to begin to find uh sort of the key points the salient points the relevant data and that happens in this making sense phase where we begin to filter we begin to synthesize we begin to take those pieces and turn them into a design question and that design question often takes the form as a how might we doesn’t need to that guides our next stage where we actually ideate where we start to generate now solutions all right we’ve come to a decision about what is the problem the nature of the problem the driver of our original problem the piece of our system that we want to act on and in the ideation phase we begin to ask ourselves okay what are we going to do about it ideation often takes the form of brainstorming right that’s a common approach to ideation there are many many different approaches apart from just the traditional brainstorming of us kind of sitting around a table maybe with sticky notes writing down everything that comes to mind to get us to a series of potential solutions oftentimes during this phase we start to take potential solutions and arrange them into design concepts acknowledging that it’s probably not if we use my my sleeping example it’s probably not just the sound proofing it’s probably not just the white noise machine but it may in fact be a combination of things in sequence that leads to the problem being solved um so we’ve developed an elaborated a design concept at this phase and the last bit here we’re going to put it into practice and very importantly in the design thinking approach and in our approach in the humanitarian and development communities approach we’re not just going to put it in practice in a five-year plan and then stand back and we’ll do a midterm evaluation and we’ll do a final evaluation and then we’re done right we put our solution in practice and we learn from it constantly and we make changes as we go along to improve it in fact you’ll see this particular pattern this pattern of building a thing measuring the success the efficacy the efficiency of that thing does it work doesn’t it work does it cost too much who does it work for who doesn’t it work for and then taking those measurements and learning from them and this process does not stand on its own but this is something that happens again and again over the course of implementing or executing on our solution of delivering our solution we call this the build measure learn loop right this is probably one of the most common patterns that we see emerge in design and design thinking further apart from being a common pattern it is transferable this is a pattern that we see in related approaches that are related to design thinking like lean startup like um oh pardon i can’t see my notes so i can’t remember the other

one oh even appreciative i mean there are many many places in which we see the build measure learn loop take place but design thinking like our work acknowledges that you can’t put in place a solution and imagine it’s going to be perfect from the start you need to build a piece of a solution learn from it and then iterate upon it and this bill measure learn loop this process of iteration is something that we see happen again and again over the course of our delivery and to be frank uh although not to belabor the point we see these loops take place even within the frame at every stage of of design thinking even as we’re asking our questions at the sensing stage our questions are getting better and sharper the more uh interviews we do even during making sense when we’re starting to make selections about uh which insights are salient or relevant our insights are going to get cleaner they’re going to get more relevant as we move through the process our ideas are going to get better our concepts more elaborate during ideation we see this process of trying something seeing how it works seeing how it fits the situation and learning from doing learning from trying it happened throughout the the the design thinking experience Einstein once said how’d you like that’s tricky I tried that last night I was like I hope this animation works because it’s kind of cool, uh but I never use animations in my slides I feel like this was particularly it just felt right so check this out I’m going to do it one more time look at that if we imagine for a moment that this is not just this line here this dotted line through the middle is not just a sort of asking not how do I put my daughter back to sleep but how do I help my daughter sleep through a plane flying low of her head right because more milk and a song isn’t going to help her when there is a galaxy c17 flying you know 10 000 feet over our heads asking the right question is integral to delivering the right thing and so we spend a lot of time sensing our environment sensing the problem and making sense of the problem before we ever start to imagine solutions certainly all right that’s a fraught exercise the imagining part and even uh far more time arguably um than we spend building and testing now building and testing acknowledging that there’s iteration can go on indefinitely but uh at least for that first bit that kind of what we’d consider the build of the initial build and test phase as compared to sensing and making sense we spend tremendously more time on those on those pieces of work so so again you know what I love it so much I’m going to do it one more time we’re not spending four equal periods right this isn’t uh the design thinking, uh process doesn’t look like uh spend one-week sensing one-week making sense one-week ideating one-week building and testing it’s more much more like spending as much time as possible figuring out the right question to ask and then imagining and then sometimes imagining solutions and a lot of time again building and iteratively building upon potential solutions everyone who’s seen a design thinking presentation is like okay i was wondering when we were going to start talking about diamonds i i show this as a flat line but this process doesn’t look like a flat line right we talked in the beginning when we were discussing um you know getting lots and lots of data and then making decisions about the relevant data coming up with lots and lots of ideas and then slowly kind of honing in on which idea we’re going to carry forward building many many potential prototypes we’ll talk about prototyping later and then figuring out which prototype or elements of the prototype we’re going to carry forward into the next stage we see again and again in our work and i mean that as designers as humanitarian and development practitioners we see again and again in our work this process of divergence if you can

see me making silly hand gestures i look like i’m doing the baby shark dance when i do this we see this process of divergence and convergence again and again and again of coming up with many many uh ideas and then evaluating those ideas to come to one or two or three coming up with many many many many research inputs and then determining what of those research that universe of information is relevant to our problem we see this uh process this diamond um happen throughout uh the the design thinking process and i’m a big fan of the design council uh visualization of the design process this is um uh canonically known as the double diamond of design and it is an acknowledgement the it is an acknowledgment that design works through this process of divergence and convergence i am taking in lots of data i am making sense of that data to come to a question to ask be able to ask myself a question i am coming up with many possible solutions and then i am evaluating the solutions and building and testing as i narrow down as i hone in on one and again this process of the double diamonds much like iteration is not something that just happens in the large scale but it happens almost fractally you know fractals right it happens almost fractally throughout the design process even as i’m trying individual prototypes during build and test i’m coming up with possible solutions possible prototypes possible elements of that prototype and i’m determining what is irrelevant to my research objectives even as i’m making sense as i’m building some of the artifacts that i’ll need to guide ideation things like personas things like you know tools that we’ve heard of before i am probably building several versions of all of those and then i’m evaluating their effectiveness their fit to my needs and i’m narrowing down on one version so we see this diamond shape of emergence of divergence and convergence happen again and again over the course of design process the design process and so in short design thinking a way of investigating and understanding people’s needs and meeting those needs by delivering solutions and it’s a way that follows a few patterns and so our first uh wait where are we okay so really is that it because it feels like there’s got to be more and there is but we’ll get to that after a little break so i want to take a moment here to um ask first a a sort of a poll question we were going to do some polls the polls don’t seem to be working so we’ll just chat our responses where do you see these patterns both of the the sort of phases of patterns of iteration patterns of spending lots of time to define the problem and a little time to come up with solutions and patterns of emergence emergence divergence and convergence where do you see these patterns appear in your work today while you’re taking a few moments oh sorry while you’re taking a few moments to think on that question and please chat your answer um as you as it as it comes to you uh i want to take a few moments and see if there are questions about what we covered uh thus far and um make it forgive me i don’t know how you want to handle questions um uh if you want to have i don’t know if we have like the hand raising function i mean i leave it up to you um but what we can do is that uh if you come up with any questions just please uh write them um in the chat and we will be gathering them them and maybe um at least at the very end of the session we can have a short q a maybe where we can then you know ask those um questions and why do you church um time to listen those um questions at that point as well that’s one option to have to go forward but yeah if you have any immediate questions or comments to trust so now this good time just uh open your mic and uh and go ahead or then as mika said write it in the chat window and i will pick it up also later on since my mic is open and this is so interesting so i’ll i’ll just say that

because i i really like the uh the the point that these three four phases are not equal and they should be like like einstein said understanding the the problem or the challenge takes most time but i think in many cases it’s the opposite i’ll be completely skip the understanding the problem take a lot of process notes and start ideating solutions to a some kind of a problem we didn’t pay that much attention and i i maybe everybody has been there like completely skipping the most important part so that was very very well your animation did the job good good i’m glad oh i i um i mean we’re we’re all development professionals we’ve experienced this i i know that in in some of your heads in my head i’m always thinking yeah that sounds great but the donor wants the proposal tomorrow that sounds great but you know our our management is expecting uh us to to start implementing we’ve got cycles to take care we’ve got funding cycles there are many ways in which reality confronts um uh this this sort of ideal process i think um now we unfortunately don’t have time to cover it here i’ve been working with some collaborators who have also been experiencing this to talk a little bit and figure out a little bit of how this design process actually can map one can map to our existing design technical design program design approaches how it does as irena noted it does in some ways and where i’ve had success employing it in my own work with unicef with care undp others has has been uh just projects like it feels like project cycle management there are ways in which we can sort of slide this into our effort and donors don’t even necessarily know about it um if they they uh you know if they’re they’re not inclined um but all that is to say that because it sort of maps to our work and can map to our work we can find ways of doing this and i’ve had some success even with like tricky bilaterals usg uh austrians um i mean eu uh eu can be challenging i don’t know what your experience has been um we found ways of kind of fitting this in so um okay that seems to be why design thinking now uh i’m gonna hold on to that i think that’s an awesome question and and there are other design processes um i don’t think the design thinking is design thinking in my estimation or the way i teach it is really an umbrella uh under which a number of design uh sort of methods or or more sort of granular design approaches uh fit um i think people kind of locate them relative to one another in different ways um but uh yeah that is to say that uh there are certainly alternatives i don’t necessarily even advocate that design thinking before steps is uh the right way to approach every problem but i do sort of think of it as a meta approach even other methodologies kind of follow this pattern so i want to keep us moving thank you all for taking the time to to reflect great questions um and i i want to come back uh first off this is really invaluable information for me just to hear your thoughts uh and also i’m gonna come back and do a little synthesis on this when i send out a resource document to you at the end of this or i should say after this presentation so let’s keep pressing so that’s it that’s the whole thing that’s what everybody’s been talking about design thinking right that’s it’s a way of meeting people’s needs great well yeah there’s always a catch right there’s a little bit more to it what’s a need what are we talking about when we say a need um I need another cup of tea like is that what design thinking is what do we need to design think that no there are a few dimensions or a few ways of categorizing or thinking about people’s needs and a few ways of thinking about people’s needs that i would say are are a a uh that fit the pattern of of reflection interrogate and interrogation that is kind of integral to a

designerly approach one is thinking about present needs needs that exist right now needs that we are experiencing right now i need more tea i need that right now i’m going to keep using this as an example by the way so i need that now but one uh but but sort of counter to this idea of present needs is emerging or future needs design thinking encourages us via the methods via the mindsets to be thinking not just of needs as they are expressed or as they are felt in the moment but needs as they emerge out of the systems uh that govern the problems that we’re experiencing and so we use when we use design we’re looking not just at the needs that i feel right now but we’re looking at the ways in which those needs drive or contribute to or the ways in which other elements of the problematic drive or contribute to future or emerging needs cool there’s another axis we have what we call individual or isolated needs my need of t i mean yes it exists in a system insofar as you know my body is telling me that i’m thirsty because my cells have an imbalance of salt and water whatever whatever whatever i haven’t had biology in a long time but nevertheless anyone who’s working in food security is probably appalled that i just messed up uh or water security that i just messed up that explanation so badly um but yeah i mean i my my need uh is is pretty immediate it’s pretty isolated to me my kneading tea doesn’t impact you tremendously unless i start having a coughing fit and can’t recover from it it’s something that exists in isolation it’s an individual personal need but the counter to that would be something like i don’t know climate change something that emerges from systems something that emerges or exists in the relationships between elements of a system between individuals in a system something that is in a way future needs are about needs that emerge over time systemic needs are about needs that emerge from the interrelationship of the actors or actives is a nice word for it in uh in a system or in an ecosystem i love to give the example when we talk about isolated and systemic needs or isolated and systemic problems of the way the world talks about climate change many of you because you are either from or are working in far more enlightened countries on this issue than me in the united states are familiar with this concept already but there is a great deal of um problematization right now of the narrative of climate change whereby we’re telling individuals you need to recycle more and you as an individual need to take one less flight per year and you as an individual need to drive a few more mile or drive a few less miles or ride your bike a little bit more when in fact the vast majority of air pollution comes from 100 corporations around the world full stop right so we take what is a systemic problem what the interaction of actors the interaction the relationships between actors and is something that exists at a very large scale and we try to define it as an individual or an isolated problem it’s about you riding your bike it’s about what you throw away the single-use plastics that you use now don’t get me wrong please we should all be doing absolutely everything we can to fight climate change to invite environmental degradation and yet this problem is not a problem that emerges because you use a plastic straw it’s a problem that emerges because we all do and we all do because that’s what’s made available to us and that’s what available to us because that’s what is profitable to a certain segment of corporations that are providing this to us this is not an anti-corporate rant but it is again just to say that this is a problem that emerges from relationships and there is another um there is another uh axis right and do you like how I made the dots a little bigger on one side so this is my z-axis this is my depth axis right and this other axis deals with needs sorry I can hear my daughter having woken up um so this other axis deals

with needs that are and I think someone mentioned this already needs that are explicit needs that we know to name right now I’m thirsty I want t my absence of t is a problem do I know to name a need to change the conditions under which the hundred largest corporations of the world is operating or operating so that we can halt climate change or reverse climate change eventually a halt environmental degradation I might not know to name it in that way to name to say that that’s the problem even if I’m experiencing elements of that problem myself when we’re dealing with California wildfires air pollution and pristina air pollution in Beijing so on and so forth the counter to explicit needs needs that i or anyone knows to say to put a name to right now are implicit needs needs that are either uh contributors in that ecosystem um problem sort of the antecedent to the problem that we can put a name to a name on or problems that are emerging um uh explicit again when we are thinking in terms of or i should say when we are thinking like designers very often as we’re doing our explanation we’re thinking in terms of uh our tendency is to think in terms of what people say they need right now or what we can see right now but explicit means very often are present needs and they are needs that exist in isolation if you’ll notice that the sort of trend on this graph it is an opportunity to use design thinking in collaboration with other methods particularly systems thinking unfortunately we don’t have enough time today to talk about the relationship between the two to drive our work from a focus on the present the explicit and the isolated or individual to problems that are systemic that are implicit that are oriented to the future to problems that are emergent and in that distinction right we sort of see the origin of the term wicked problem or complex problems problems that are multi-variable problems that are sticky that don’t have any one easy solution but design thinking as we go deeper as we spend more and more time on understanding the challenge lets us orient our solutions toward those systemic implicit and future problems one second and so when we’re talking about needs we’re talking about meeting people’s present explicit and isolated needs and future implicit and systemic needs okay so that’s it just kidding that’s not it there’s another word in here that’s really sticks out to me it’s kind of thorny solutions i think solutions and solutionism the idea that we can only define a problem by the available solutions uh really really sort of problematic um uh both in design as a practice and in uh development work even the idea that every problem is a problem that can be solved or that has something that we’d call a solution also a problematic idea um but let’s talk you know acknowledging the the ways in which this is a thorny word let’s talk about what we mean when we talk about solutions uh in the designerly sense i think we can acknowledge i’m sorry i don’t have a higher resolution version of this this comes from dr stephanie russo not like a an enormous design academic but has done some really really great work on the history of design thinking and how design thinking gets used uh she is um coming out of swinburne university uh this doc this this visual looks at the kinds of solutions the areas of solutions that design thinking has been employed to address um everything from how do i build you a new pair of sneakers straight up to how do i design entire new public policies how do i design new social infrastructure how do i design new public services right so there are many many types in terms of this sort of format uh of a solution that solutions uh that emerge from design thinking can take but there’s another way to think of them um this is a tool or this is the home screen of a tool that um my team uh built at UNICEF in 2015 2016 in response to what was called the refugee and migrant crisis in Europe

um this was a tool that enabled folks uh who were working in UNICEF’s child-friendly spaces and mother-baby uh corners along the Balkan route into Europe who was providing services to refugees and migrants as they were moving through the Balkan route into Europe to gather information in a rights-respecting privacy-respecting way about refugees and migrants in order for UNICEF to improve its planning its sort of planning at the operational level and to improve its reporting and all the good things that come with reporting resource mobilization etc when we were asked to explore the the challenges that uh refugees and migrants were facing in these in these areas uh in these child-friendly spaces in the mother baby corner when we were asked also to explore the challenges that service providers were experiencing and and imagine uh some solutions that we could implement to improve that experience we started or i should say the conversation naturally went one place it went to the question of feasibility and this was sort of the the we we so just to step back a little bit what we discovered was that people on the route into europe felt substantial urgency to complete their journey for any number of reasons the absolute uh inestimable hardship of of leaving your home and walking across a continent uh the simple fact that they had no security as they were moving through the process the the the concern that european countries were and and continue to close their borders so on and so forth there was lots and lots of urgency so there was a question about how can we make this experience uh something where we get people what they need but we don’t slow them down at the same time there was absolute urgent the the countries that were responding uh greece macedonia serbia were not uh either the governments or or the the competent actors not uh capacitated to do this type of work i mean macedonia has not had a ton of experience balkan wars notwithstanding in conducting uh refugee and migrant response work um unicef and serbia set up almost explicitly to do policy advocacy work there was no service service delivery taking place and so we needed to enable folks to do things easily that folks who are doing humanitarian performance monitoring and and humanitarian response elsewhere in the world uh know how to do and so it sort of comes naturally it did not for them so we needed to enable this process to be faster to be easier to be more learningful also for for folks who are providing the services at these spaces but when we started to talk about solutions everyone sort of naturally wanted to go to this question of feasibility what can we do and when i say what can we do i mean what are we technically able to provide feasibility is a question of our technical capabilities what solutions can we technologically uh from a resource perspective so on and so forth actually put into place and that is one element of thinking about solutions a solution must be technically feasible if i imagine you know a solution every solution requires a fleet of helicopters and a half a billion dollars unless i’m jeff bezos i’m probably not going to be able to put that solution in place and so there is a question always of the technical of the resource of the operational feasibility of any particular solution that i want to deliver but design doesn’t stop with just the question of can we technically do it design thinking it’s emergent and its emergence from you know design as a practice always asks does anyone want it there were versions of the refugee and migrant data collection tool what ends up being called hpm wire humanitarian performance monitoring by the way it didn’t just as an aside this ended up being it’s a tablet based and mobile based application where folks who are doing service provision can very quickly and easily in a way that maps to their workflow both use this tool to deliver services and then also at the same time collect the types of data that both unicef at the unicef and partners at the site level at the country level at the region and globally needed in order to conduct their operational planning and also do their

reporting so a bit on what it actually was there were versions of that tool that nobody wanted they were hard to use they asked prying questions they didn’t deliver the uh the information or um uh didn’t deliver the information to folks in a way that was usable to them that little screen that you saw is just the front end there’s a whole architecture stuff going on beside behind it that would actually you know aggregate and slice that information and deliver uh reports all the way up to the executive director of unicef daily so on and so forth but those products the the elements of the solution weren’t actually desirable nobody wanted what we were offering and not just in the sense that like i don’t like the colors or it doesn’t do exactly what i needed to do but there were some fundamental things about our solution uh our initial solution the way it required people to be counted in line which felt very uh denigrating the way in which it would require folks to sort of slow down their process and ask a bunch of questions before delivering a bunch of services that made it not a desirable solution and it doesn’t matter if we could technically deliver it all of those things technically worked right those early versions of the application technically work they were feasible but they weren’t desirable no one wanted them and so i don’t get uptake no one uses the thing and there’s a third element as well because great I could build the solution technically I could design it in such a way that it meets the the the legion needs of the many many people many stakeholders all the way from rights holders straight on up to you know UNICEF management uh government partners so on and so forth that it would be desirable to them but I still have to ask also this question of viability, I can do this thing right now but have I built a model that will persist over time technically I could deliver a desirable solution cool could I train people could I maintain it could I pay for it could I fix it when it was broken all of these questions of viability um are asking about the ability of the model not just the point solution but the whole model to exist and persist over time in the environment in which the solution is located and so feasibility is I’m sort of interrogating the product itself for service itself and our capabilities to deliver at the moment desirability I’m trying to understand the needs and wants of stakeholders and what will and will not resonate with them viability I’m asking whether or not my model the whole of the intervention can work overtime in context design thinking is occupied preoccupied with these three questions and so when I’m delivering solutions design thinking asks me to consider feasible desirable and viable solutions cool I want to talk pause here for a moment so this would be a place where we’d have a poll but i’m going to ask you to chat your answer and i’d really love to hear you know you can write it to me individually if you don’t want to share whatever the case may be i would love love to hear uh everyone’s response to this poll question the inter and at the same time as you’re thinking about your response to the poll question i want to take needs on uh take needs pardon i want to take questions about uh about needs about this concept of needs and the types of needs about also solutions and the types or needs and the types of needs and solutions and the types of solutions please chat your questions or raise your questions and also have a think about our poll question and respond in the chat the interventions i work on most struggle or pardon the interventions i work on most struggle with feasibility desirability or viability or nothing everything’s great all the time that’s that’s possible too right maybe we’re our team is just a crack team it’s perfect but where do you most struggle uh solutions that are viable solutions that are desirable people actually want them they want

to use them they want to use and engage in the components thereof or solutions that are technically feasible we keep trying to do things that aren’t within our capabilities to deliver I’ll take a moment while you’re responding and again please if you do have any questions on our last section uh let me know we’ll I’ll keep an eye on the chat and we’ll take about two minutes here to do this take a break oh hula that’s a good comment okay two minutes I see a lot of c’s but I think oola would you feel comfortable sharing your comment with them because I think it’s it’s just tremendously insightful yeah i was thinking that you know we very very uh seldom look at all the three issues we focus on uh viability or sustainability um but but we don’t uh really think what what are the you know the the steps to bring in uh a viable solution it might be i mean the way you explained it it really rang a bell to me and okay this is a sort of combination combination of things that we need to consider not jump into you know for instance viability immediately so i it’s just some sort of insight i had apparently most probably not explain it in in any feasible way no i i think it’s i think it’s perfect um and i’m so glad that you lifted this up i something that i didn’t give voice to um is that there is you know this is not just a um i don’t know what the synonym for rhetorical would mean when i’m talking about a picture but it’s it’s not for pretty there isn’t there is an intimate relationship between these things my models don’t work over time unless the thing that i’m delivering is desirable or unless there are technical capabilities to deliver it over time we could build that hpm wire solution send a bunch of tablets down in the field i mean how often have you heard this story right send a bunch of tablets out in the field and then no one can maintain it or repair it so there is when we’re thinking about viability what we’re often finding is that there are there are bottlenecks emerge from desirability from feasibility how many times has this been the case your interval you’ve seen an intervention that becomes less desirable over time because it wasn’t viable because they did we didn’t have like the long-term um let’s use something so basic of

this used to happen in pristina all the time the the local government and forgive me kosovo for knocking you i love you dearly uh the local government would introduce some great new extremely desirable uh intervention um these new fancy uh below ground garbage collection bins that are like super expensive and you don’t see the rubbish there are no dumpsters there’s nothing extremely desirable but it’s definitely a vote getter except there was no plan for like no one bought one no one bought the trucks that they needed to actually empty this special kind of garbage thing so technically infeasible and there was no plan or money to buy the trucks or train anyone to do it or sustain this thing over time and so what started out as a desirable solution because it was not technically feasible because it was not viable in the long term slowly became a pariah of a solution i mean it became an embarrassment and almost took down a government so there is a there is an intimate relationship between these things and what often may manifest as an issue of viability in part because we as development practitioners are encouraged to think in that way what is our sustainability plan you know section 9 on everyone’s on everyone’s project proposal tell us about your sustainability plan actually so often stems not from just the ability to raise money in perpetuity or you know capacitate the government to for transfer or whatever whatever but it comes from the design of the solution and it comes from uh desirability and feasibility uh oola i wanna thank you again for for lifting that up i i think it’s it’s such an important uh reflection to note that the the relationship between these things and our tendency to think in terms uh first of viability so um thanks everyone for uh for the poll responses I can’t wait to take a look at that and do some quantification uh see where we ended up so that’s it no of course, not I mean, of course, that’s not a little bit more design thinking wouldn’t be design thinking right it would just be doing what we always do if we weren’t actually using the mindset skills and methods of design and by this I mean I’m not going to bore you with the intellectual heritage of design but design roughly emerges from the practice of design all the way back to kind of the industrial practice it emerges also from engineering um it emerges uh from design in the traditional center graphic design um a big piece of some of the best thinkers by the way on design historically have come out of Finland so you’re in good company there but that lineage has given us tools ways of thinking stances to solve problems that we roughly call design so it’s thinking like a designer to investigate and understand people’s needs and meet them with solutions it’s doing design to do that and what do I mean by that I mean a few things one I mean the mindsets I’m not going to belabor these I’m going to move through these fairly quickly um but that said um there are a few that I want to call out this list of mindsets for design is a synthesis of you know you’re going to see several practitioners thinkers schools of thought there’s the Helsinki school of thought there’s Stanford uh there’s a hustle plotner in Germany many many different groups saying these are the mindsets or the stances the principles of design this list here you’re not going to see in any one place right this is what I teach my students um and that is a synthesis of all of these these these mindsets um there are just a few that I want to talk about there we go okay that’s for later all right the first is to center humans but think in systems we’ve talked about this already we talked when we talked about the ways in which needs can be individual uh they can be present or few individuals or systemic present or future or emergent the design encourages us to to to think first and to about and to lift up the lived experience of people who are impacted by or otherwise connected to a system in

let’s think of our systemic uh problem of climate change climate change is a problem that emerges from the relationships between people and even from the relationships between people when people form corporations and governments and uh pressure groups and lobby groups and citizen groups and so on and so forth this is a problem that exists in the way that we relate to one another um that problem even though it’s systemic and exists in relationships still is grounded in in people people the there are ceos of those hundred companies that are responsible for the majority of air pollution of carbon production around the world there are stakeholder boards there are people that do the work just kind of grind it out day to day right like there’s uh uh each of those sort of individual microcosms are constituted by people and if we’re going to affect that problem if we’re going to change anything about that problematic situation our solution is going to target people not a company i can’t change a company’s mind a company doesn’t have a mind but the minds of the people that work in the company of the stakeholders the board the shareholders whatever whatever i can actually address uh their motivations their drivers right i can target them forgive the expression with with the solution um so even when i’m elevating as design tells me to the lived experience the motivations the pain points of humans of people i’m also acknowledging in a way that sometimes design is bad at this i’m acknowledging that people who exist in work in are conditioned by contribute to systems number two adopt beginner’s mind what’s beginner’s mind I want to play a little game what’s going on in this picture now if you know the answer and you actually know like the context and all this please don’t chat if I am uh entering observation sensing with a set of biases in mind well you know what sorry I don’t want to go there yet I actually want to take 60 seconds and maybe chat some observations about what is happening in this photo Michael that’s a do you know that’s a real thing I don’t know if you know this there’s this weird thing that they do in the southern united states where they it’s called noodling uh where they like to go into rivers and they find like holes in the riverbed and in order to catch catfish they just stick their hands down these like muddy murky holes and yank the catfish out they actually let the catfish like eating their hand to pull it out it is terrifying I can’t imagine why anybody would do this what a crazy thing but again that’s the south for you all right definitely so I see a few yeah I see some things here a boy is petting his pet fish were fishing boy catching a fish there’s some interesting things happening when i ask you to make observations about this that we’re bringing a set of assumptions to this i don’t want to call anyone out uh you know who can possibly know what’s going on here but we could be i noticed an assumption this is his pet fish that he’s trying to catch the fish as opposed to just putting the fish in the tub or maybe he’s just pointing toward the fish or whatever whatever we don’t know we are bringing in that orange bathroom how is that for mid-century modern design seriously um so we’re bringing with us a set of assumptions a set of biases uh whenever we are entering this this um sort

of sensing stage beginner’s mind asks us not to set aside those biases we have to ask whether or not that’s even possible those preconception those beliefs about a system and what’s happening what’s how it how it operates the people within it but to acknowledge them acknowledge that we have those preconceptions and attempt to set them aside as we make uh our observations what’s actually happening here by the way my wife is czech thank you anyone who actually knows what’s going on here czechs have carp for christmas it’s the tradition and they bring their fish home live they buy it on the streets in these big containers they bring it home live like a few days before christmas and they let it live in the bathtub which is the craziest thing and every kid in the czech republic names their fish they’re like three year a day you know it’s a pet for three days and then it’s dinner uh they name it uh vinceslas the the king vincenza so this is vences loss and uh and the boy who’s who’s going to in a few days eat him for christmas dinner but when we see this photo right there is a way of describing this photo that is strictly observation um a boy appears to be touching a fish in what appears to be a bathroom or in a tub and that is pretty much all we can say definitively about this photo is the is the what is the nature of the relationship between the boy and the fish we have no idea is it a pet is it food we don’t know is the boy putting the fish in taking the fish out is it a boy it could just be a girl with short hair we say boy boy boy we have no idea maybe the boy doesn’t identify as a or maybe this person doesn’t identify as a boy or girl no clue for all we know this person’s 90 years old who knows um it’s very very difficult for us to say without introducing what’s going on in this photo without introducing bias beginner’s mind is about acknowledging those biases it’s about acknowledging that we have preconceptions about a system about a problem as we enter that sensing space and we seek to account for those accounting for those looks like asking how do you identify what’s your gender asking uh what do you intend to do with the fish asking is the fish alive is the fish dead where did you get the fish is this in fact a bathroom whose bathroom is it asking questions um by by adopting beginner’s mind we encourage ourselves we enable ourselves to ask questions discover elements of the problem space that if we just carried forward our biases we would be blind to all right it is somewhat related to this concept of embracing ambiguity and crafting clarity we acknowledge when we do design that we’re not going to know the answer to every question at the same time we acknowledge that when we feel we have an answer we need to make that uh explicit we need to work to make sure that everyone’s on the same page if i wanted to without looking at this photo just enable you to know what’s going on in this picture i would have to work to name the dimensions of the picture to give you the information that you need i can’t assume that you and i are on the same page i can’t assume that we have a shared understanding of the problem space so again this element is about understanding that there are limits there will always be limits to our understanding uh to the extent to which we can share knowledge or share an understanding of a problematic but when we believe there is clarity it is our responsibility to produce that clarity we have to do the work of making sure everyone understands of making sure everybody’s on the same page design also um encourages us to have a bias toward action and we’ll see that when we talk about experimentation we’ll see that when we talk about testing and we’ve seen that over the course of a process it’s about getting out into the world it’s about trying things it’s about an orientation toward solutions not solutions once and done but solutions as a way of continuing to explore the problem of building so that we can measure and learn but all of that depends on us having a bias to action iteration we talked about endlessly just to say that it exists across the the uh experience of design what do i say when i mean be confidently creative how does that show who do you feel you’re creative you don’t have to chat just think like do you feel creative do you feel like you’re a creative person you know we don’t need to you don’t need to respond just reflect on how you relate to

yourself in that question I think design so often is um considered the purview of like creative types I don’t even know what that word means anymore after doing this for 12 years or so I’ve never met anyone who’s more or less creative than anyone else folks that say like i’m a technologist i want to be in the spreadsheets i want to be in the data the creativity that i see with like data folks folks that don’t define themselves as creative as extraordinary so when we say confident be confidently creative what we’re actually saying is not like can you draw everybody can draw a little bit it’s not saying like are you an artist are you you know do you have a good sense of color it’s actually saying that our minds at human beings right all of our minds are extremely powerful pattern recognition and generative engines and we can rely on our brains to be doing a lot of sort of subconscious thinking for us to find to uncover patterns uh and to come up with the um to make connections to make leaps and that is not i don’t mean when i say that like we’re we’re incredible pattern finding engine i don’t mean that in like a spiritual sense or in a woo sense i mean like our neurobiology is incredibly good at finding patterns and using those patterns to create new things that is that is what we are powerful at rely on your brain to do that trust yourself trust your brain to work in that way for you now the last bit here collaborate radically design really demands and the best design demands that we bring folks to the table or we come to the table um far beyond where we would sort of naturally make delineations of who is within and who is without of the problem space or even the solution space the best work that i have done this is just anecdotal but you know we see this idea of a tendency towards collaboration everywhere the best work that i have done on adolescent empowerment has been in a table with people who were certainly smes for adolescents youth and participation but designers graphic designers technologists marketing folks entrepreneurs a religious leader the more perspectives you have at the table and the more radically different um the more even polar those perspectives of the table the more complete picture you can get of the problematic of the the problematic situation uh and the the the greater breadth um of of uh the greater the potentiality the greater breadth of possible uh insights of possible solutions the more divergent we can be the more divergent we are the better you know if you’re if you’re going to pan for gold you want to make sure to put a lot of dirt through that sieve i don’t know if anyone pans for gold like that anymore um we want many many ideas we want radical divergence before we begin to converge we get better products better solutions better services that way so that’s mindset skills we’re going to talk about five skills for innovation these are taken from Clayton Christensen at owl who just passed away last year innova the innovator’s dean at DNA these are not necessarily skills that we would think of as strictly design skills but they are skills that designers depend on to do their work and they are like this observation questioning i mean we’ve already talked a little bit about this what does it mean to be good at observing what does it mean to be good at asking questions we understand or we know from our our work together already from our time together already that we spend a tremendous amount of time during design just trying to understand what is the problem what what is really going on here uh well how do people feel about this what are their pain points what are their needs what is the system uh that they find themselves in what are the relationships within those systems and so much of our ability to do that sensing demands that we are good at making observations and not just making observations but making observations without introducing interpretation without introducing bias and asking good questions and that both takes the form of actually asking you know verbalizing formulating good probing and formative questions but also having a stance or a disposition of asking questions of not being satisfied with what is

presented to us of wanting to dive you know um not just use this photo as a window but use it as a door to enter the problem space and to look around of having a stance of curiosity um our second bit is empathy i know i i have to acknowledge this is where so often we as development practitioners get tripped up when someone came to me first you know in 2007 or eight from the design space and was like uh you got to have empathy like i work you’re you work in a for-profit i work for i’m i’m a unicef student i’m an educator i work for of course i have empathy what i learned over time is that i had what is called effective empathy and what designers employ is what’s called cognitive empathy and if i ever do a phd which is probably right around the corner i’m probably going to study this and how it interacts with design that’s how important i think this is effective empathy is empathy of the heart it means that i feel as you feel and it is easier to feel uh empathy for people that we already love for people that we already care about and feel close to and of course as development practitioners and humanitarians we care about the people with and for whom we work right we feel effective empathy for them we care about them but cognitive empathy the type of empathy that designers also employ right is empathy used as a tool it is my ability to imagine what it’s like to be another person not just feel as they feel but to inhabit their space and where i feel where i personally i want to share just a story where i’ve often been tripped up and have to remind myself and ground myself in this distinction between effective and cognitive empathy is in solving ugly problems so one of the problems that i’ve worked with uh in the past was um uh uh fathers who would disinherit their girl children uh they would they would only leave uh in their inheritance to male children despite that being illegal right um in and this was, in this case, this was in a lot of my examples today are from Kosovo this was in western Kosovo so if I’m going to solve this problem no i don’t agree i hope it goes without saying but i want to say it with the in an emotional way with the decisions that these fathers who are disinheriting their girl children make right i don’t agree with the way that they express favoritism and bias toward their male children but if i’m going to address this issue i still need to imagine what it’s like not just understand right not not step back and look at that father as an individual but i need to imagine what it’s like to be that father and look out at the world that’s a hard thing to do because i don’t have effective empathy for that father who’s saying my girl child is not worthy of inheriting my property right only her brothers are but i still if i’m going to solve that problem if i’m going to change that i need to be able to see the world as he sees the world and that skill and it is a skill part just to sometimes swallow your disguise but other times to actually you know activate the ability to stand in someone else’s position and look at the world as if you were them right that is a skill and that is a skill that you can develop it is a skill that connects to the mindset or the disposition of of empathy or pardon of of being human-centered but human-centeredness in this case means not center humans as the subject of our research not look at them at the end of our telescope or our microscope but actually stand in their place and look out at the world and i cannot emphasize this enough this is one of the most critical skills the application of empathy is a tool that designers employ our next skill associating and reframing the skill that design of the many skills that designers most often employ this you see across the uh the the phases the ability to make

connections and synthesize associate dis associate disparate concepts and draw out insights from those concepts and at the same time a similar mental exercise is not just the ability to bring things together to make connections but the ability to sort of move mentally around those connections and see things from a different perspective to reframe the example that i used here i uh uh and i i use this very often when you look at this picture what do you see i mean everyone has probably seen this before but some folks see a candlestick but look again you now you see a person or two people facing one another and depending on uh what what i like about this small little optical illusion here is that it reminds us that there are several ways of looking at a problem and one of the multitude skills that makes for a valuable designer is the ability to look at a problem from a different perspective to frame it in a different way we were doing work again uh this is a kosovo example on um what were we doing work on oh we were doing work on on uh combating uh uh fake news uh effectively fake news this was before fake news was a term um but we were concerned with the types of um untoward information young people were encountering online in in kosova we were concerned with radicalization and we wanted to act as as the un system and government partners and local ngos we thought okay we need to act on the producers of this information and the most valuable insight or the most valuable reframing that we had there uh was not a need to act on the producer we need to shut them down we need to turn their accounts off we probably need to do those things as well but what we actually needed to do was work on the demand we realized that there was an opportunity to eliminate the the motive that uh producers of kind of fake news had in the first place by working on the demand side by increasing people’s critical media literacy by giving them some small tips and some little behavioral nudges so that they wouldn’t share things that didn’t quite feel right uh and ultimately we were able to sort of tamp down that kind of problematic situation of young people spreading fake news particularly around health issues not by like going off and trying to shut down every facebook accounts but just by you know helping people not not create demand for this issue so we reframed we saw it in a different way? this is one of my favorite photos uh from all of the work that i have done this is from zatari camp um and this is a prototype of a mobile library this was mocked up with just an existing bike and this triangle bit already existed and folks are like look if i’m going to have a mobile library that i can ride around the camp we want to test it we want to see if people use it we want to see if it’s technically feasible if it’s desirable can i ride this thing all day will it last there was a disposition here a manifestation of a bias to action in the form of a prototype of actually just mocking this thing up we’re in a metal shop in zatari and we have the site a local org has this idea of mobile libraries instead of thinking endlessly researching endlessly let’s try it one quick it was a day to build it it used existing materials and let’s see what happens right and that disposition to building so that we can measure so that we can learn so that we can build better is at the heart of experimentation and the ability to construct to design and build good experiments is a key uh skill of of of the design thinking practitioner and our last bit here is a collaboration we’ve talked endlessly already about the benefits of both of radical collaboration as a principle um and uh but enabling collaboration being able to facilitate collaboration being able to bring disparate stakeholders to the table is absolutely uh integral i love this photo this is one of my favorite pictures of my time leading the innovations lab in kosovo uh this is a few members of the 16 person team plus actually some external stakeholders we’re debriefing an event and i realized um the the green sticky notes in the middle not on both sides were mine and i was debriefing this event myself to try to learn from the first iteration of this project that would eventually become quite powerful

um and i realized like i only have one my debrief of this three-day experience is from one very specific perspective it’s from the management perspective i’m thinking about like did people comment all this different you know i’m only look at it looking at it important from my lens and i realized as as we often do in this moment that our picture is going to be more complete the more people that i can bring to the table and so what you the folks that you see here are uh the young man in the middle who’s who’s right in the middle actually a participant in the program uh the the two women in the background uh or in the foreground in our case are were running the program on site the two gentlemen that you see there uh yet one on the left and ermal on the on the right um they didn’t attend the event they weren’t part of the event but we wanted to get a feeling for how the preparation for the event uh impacted the feeling in the office um what did it mean was it was it viable like was our model still working and so we brought many many stakeholders to the table just for this debrief and it gave us a much more comprehensive picture of of what was going on so then there are methods and i’m actually not going to talk about methods because there are too many um what i will do however is after our time today i’m sure that we have a registration list i want to take some of the responses to uh the poll questions i want to um uh take some of your thoughts and questions over the course of our our time together and i will consolidate those into a resource list and on that resource list i’m going to provide to you a few libraries of design methods one from uc berkeley i’ll probably also include ido which as much as i hate to include a for profit there it is they have a good library of research of design methods um there are there are so many there are literally hundreds and they all can be employed just as when we’re building a house we use different tools at different moments to accomplish different things the methods of design get used at different phases to solve different small challenges different small issues help us progress in different ways but as i said there are truly hundreds um and so the best i can do is offer you resources to explore uh how or what methods fit into our overarching framework and support our overarching principles and skills so i want to pause here and ask a question about design skills you know our explanation of skills it was brief um but you know again this is a reflection of this is a synthesis of some really excellent literature on skills for design and innovation and i think it’s great for us as practitioners to reflect on where we go naturally what we feel we’re strong at and where we have an opportunity to grow and so i would love to hear from you all since we’re not doing a poll we can actually answer both which is your greatest strength as you see it right now which skill do you feel particularly strong and particularly confident in employing and which is your greatest area for growth what might be weaker or much what just might be a high priority for your development which skill do you think you need to expand in so let’s take uh we’ll take about two minutes here and I would be so grateful uh if you could chat your responses in the chat while we’re doing that while we’re responding to our poll question here if you have any questions about skills mindsets and methods I’d love to take some of those questions now there was a question earlier on in the chat that wasn’t addressed yet and I think cannot find it now but I remember it was talking about lock frames and uh and so a lot of people who work in the development

are quite familiar with the logical frameworks and then the question was like how does design thinking correspond with lock frames like are they at complete odds at each other or it was around that yeah no uh so I actually came to that’s such an excellent question I actually came um this is strictly anecdotal I don’t know if there is research on this there should be it’d be great to see how these two things intersect um my i i wanted a way to introduce innovation within the frame or enable i should say innovation within the frame of an existing project i inherited a big project a multi-million dollar project from ada and eu at unicef and i had been doing design work and and sort of design uh as a practice uh for a few years prior to that but what i really wanted was a way to say okay my my objectives will not change or let’s actually say more like l4 like um my outcomes will not change i’m using the un terminology now this would be the step below impact what i find is that design thinking is actually excellent if you can create space and and you can donors generally are okay with this particularly this these days at least in my experience you can create some flexibility in the activities in the what you do right um or i should say uh at the at the activity and output level oftentimes we can find a little flexibility if we can’t get flexibility at the output level we can still get flexibility at the activity level we can be constantly designing redesigning iterating upon our activities to make them more effective more efficient i can’t imagine the donor in the world now speaking but from the perspective also as a donor occasionally that isn’t going to want to see people change their activities over time as they learn what works well and what uh it doesn’t work quite as well so right there at the activity level there’s always some space to do design work we can always improve the actual kind of uh elements of our of our product or services of our interventions um even at then at the at the you know if we already have a log frame in place we can shift many many things so long as we remain in pursuit of the same outcomes and design is actually very good at that it’s very good at saying um holding the the goal of getting my daughter to sleep right as as uh as remaining the same right unchanging my goal is to get my daughter to sleep how can i shift my understanding of the drivers of that problem or which parts of that problematic ecosystem and how can i shift my uh my activities the actual what the the way in which i’ll intervene in that problematic system in order to maintain that outcome or to to achieve that outcome and so there is still you know this idea of associating reframing of experimentation uh these pieces still fit very nicely in some cases within the log frame approach and then i think lastly you know last way of approaching log frames is i haven’t designed the project yet it’s not even there yet in which case this fits fabulously right like if i’m gonna if i’m gonna name an outcome you know impact remaining the same your impact is usually given to you by your development assistance cooperation whatever provider you have lots of opportunity to shift uh your understanding of what your outcomes need to be uh which even part of the system are you gonna work on in the first place and that that that determination can be made um via the sort of sensing and sense-making uh that design experiment that design excels at so yeah yeah um I uh just to say it’s not a 100 fit its sort of about right-sizing your application of design thinking for where you have space and flexibility to achieve it um but we can let’s talk write me on that if you have specific questions I would love to talk more

about that I think a lot about that question myself I’ve actually the more design I do the more fascinated I become with monitoring evaluation and kind of technical design um because I think that you know there’s an opportunity to do the way design is often about learning and there’s an opportunity to change the way we do mel to learn better thanks, Josh great points there very valuable there’s a surrender I had also a question here it’s the last one if you can see it I think this is a perhaps the most important question I’m actually going to knowing that we have time, yeah, in fact, thank you for asking because that leads directly into this next uh section so this all sounds great and uh surrender I want to make or I want to make sure that I’m right now about to answer that question I want to talk about uh within the frame of our of a broader presentation because we only have a few minutes left um oops okay so this all sounds great design sounds great what’s the catch as I see it there are four and I’m actually going to skip to two and come back one of the challenges one of the limitations of design as I see it and as I’ve experienced it is this question of who gets to be a designer what’s very nice about design and I there’s there is nothing exclusive about design thinking as an approach there are ways in which design think it gets implemented exclusively or not inclusively I actually think that design by providing some methods and providing some stances by saying that there is a way to do this work of creating solutions to understanding problems as possible some of the best work that I’ve done uh or I should say most gratifying work that I’ve done have been co-creative and co-design approaches and those approaches are saying look we’re going to not just solve this problem together we’re going to name this problem together we are going to right-size our sense and sense-making efforts so that folks who are traditionally excluded from this problem space can be included and have as much of the seat of the table not just at saying here’s what we want done which is way down the line but vitally it’s saying this is the problem to be solved at the outset that project that i’m talking about was called uh citizen science it was a eu funded a horizon 2020 funded bit of work between five countries um where we actually uh had uh before we even engaged in that work we sat down with members of the roma community the ramashkali and egyptian communities and had a conversation around what problems do you want to solve in the first place what should we even go off and apply funding for and we use design as a way to drive that conversation folks that are traditionally if they are included they are included in the you know the testing the user testing bit like does this work do you like this that kind of thing but very rarely afforded the opportunity to say these are the problems that we want you to solve in the first place and so design was very powerful in that respect but design can be limiting design that is oriented around the designer or in which designers are sort of infatuated with their own role in design can be problematic another limitation of design is this question of beginner’s mind can i ever actually put can i be a view from nowhere can i be entirely objective i think the way or am i always going to bring bias or prejudice or at least you know preconceived notions of the problem space into my work i think the answer is it is a lie to imagine that i can ever fully set aside all of my biases beginner’s mind is actually asking me to not set them aside but acknowledge them to know that they’re there right when we looked at that photo earlier today it wasn’t about saying i don’t know what gender this child is it was about saying i’m assuming that this child is a boy for the following reasons and i can ask and confirm because i have made space for my preconceptions and i have tried to exercise self-reflection and consciousness of my of my biases of my preconceptions when i enter the problem and whether when i enter the problem space i think this one is so critical as a limitation of design thinking design emerges from the private sector and so at the origin of design in many ways is is marketing

the tools the approaches stem now they have gone so far beyond marketing as a it’s it’s difficult to even see the starting point but i think we need to constantly be interrogating the appropriateness of any particular method or approach or even the mindsets the model itself whenever we’re applying design to social impact because the people that develop design as a practice it was enough for them to deliver the feeling of the solved problem to whomever wanted to pay for that feeling all right there’s a big difference between me helping you feel like the problem is solved and me actually delivering a solution with and for you and design can be used to deliver solutions with and for impacted people but design can be used to deliver the feeling and only the feeling of a solved problem hell design can be used just to deliver the feeling of a problem do you really need a new phone do you need a new phone no but i can use design to make you feel like you need a new phone so that i can solve that problem that i helped you realize you have and lastly this question and we talked a little bit about this throughout the idea that human centeredness can be systems blindness there are ways that we can slice many big problems that encourage us to focus only on the immediate the individual the isolated the explicit needs and much of human centered design and its heritage of of kind of marketing it’s it’s its for-profit heritage would encourage us just to look at how do i solve that individual’s problem how do i deliver that feeling of a problem solved i think the way in which we as development practitioners can employ design thinking is to orient it toward systems toward future and emergent problems toward the implicit uh problems and drivers of problems so it is something that we can account for that’s it oh wait last bit why you should care um i’m not going to go too much into this this is my own personal story of how we use design but just to say that there are many ways in which this is this is uh some pictures of of a young man booyar who i got to work with while we developed this initiative using design thinking called up shift an upshift would go on to become this is a world bank recognized best practice for you know youth empowerment participation employability skills for employability um uh this is a uh it’s now we came just from kosovo scale up to about 40 countries around the world hundreds of thousands of kids use it but so much of this came from the application of design designed to innovate designed to reduce risk by experimenting by building learning building better by iterating designed to shift power by including people who typically aren’t at the table uh and designed to affect systems change to point our solutions not just at the immediate the individual the explicit but at the emergent the uh systemic uh the implicit and that’s it i promise thanks so i want to take any questions you might have i know that we don’t have much time together i can stick around for a few minutes or really almost as long as you need if you want to take some time with one another um but i just want to say thanks thank you so much for your participation in the chat i enjoyed this tremendously albeit you know two hours is like a weird time because it’s like not enough time to do stuff but too much time just to talk uh i i hope you enjoyed it and i do hope that you’ll reach out to me uh if you have any questions and i say that as sincerely as possible this is this is my first love right so i’m i’m i’m more than happy to to chat uh with you about about this work about what you’re doing um and uh about your interest in this space so um mika over to you and and over to everyone for for any questions yeah thanks uh uh before going to the questions i just want to take the opportunity to thank very much as you can see in the chat the the tanks are already flowing there for a very good reason this is an excellent insightful uh presentation uh we are super happy to have have you done this uh so great thanks and and another thanks goes to as he already mentioned to peter and juguna our colleague without peter we wouldn’t have had this connection and uh he he started talking about josh who could possibly give a presentation on this so here we are and then thirdly for all the participants who have stayed two hours listening to this and and hopefully we can continue the discussion also

then later on to see how do we put these practices and ideas and insights into into practice in our daily work in the organizations in in different parts of the world in different countries so but now as joe said uh there’s still time for those who need to leave uh please do so no problem this is the end of the official time and those who still want to stay to have a chat so we’ll keep the line on and you can just raise your hand use the chat or just open the mic and start chatting uh I like the the the point uh ari made uh hardly understood more than half of this but was absolutely great so if this was the first time you heard about uh uh design thinking there are a different kind of uh concepts and thoughts and rereading it and really listening and getting your head around it slowly gets steeper but I think it was uh super good for all practice I’ll tell you if you understood more than half I’m thrilled I feel like that’s a success I barely understand more than half of this either so we’re on the same page yeah indeed i mean just just additionally i mean i’m running a sports charity organization we do operate in the south and we are considering the how to create something which is sustainable which can be also income generating activity which is completely on the local needs and then it is used mainly by the youth and i mean this what you put on the last one or over here like the grass photo of grass we have to go to the grassroot level so if it works on the grassroot level it definitely works everywhere and and that’s the basic thinking what you do that make it simple and for those who are not maybe the maybe the sharpest pens yeah in the system so that uh it definitely works and thank you anybody for for this last photo this was kind of like now i got the point i mean i try to understand what whatever you said and indeed i think i got the point but basically the issue is that to make it work in the simplest matter so then you can expand it and then you can have the second stage of it and it definitely will work out thank you absolutely i mean there’s there’s there’s so much richness and potential complexity to this this work i i i i feel almost embarrassed in a way and and how kind of superficial uh this can be um one of my big critiques of design thinking has been the ways in which uh this this this practice has been evolved into a performance that gets sold to our sector right like there are many many organizations out there some really big ones ideos in some ways the the originator of a lot of this thinking has turned this into a show has turned design into an experience the experience of design facsimile design um and in part that’s because they they take it to this sort of level of simplification that it loses a lot of the the meat you know you’re doing what you do you’re doing the methods but you don’t know why you don’t know what it connects to you don’t know the patterns and so hopefully today we’ve had the opportunity to talk a little bit about enough of a grounding to at least be if not yet design practitioners uh stronger consumers stronger wiser sharper consumers of design as a as a service but yeah i already think that additionally a bit to that as well i mean 90 percentage of our worries are nevertheless useless because we cannot do anything about that so it wouldn’t be just concentrate on the ten percentage that definitely can change something and and stop worrying and this i think that this is more like the like the human centered approach is the the basic solutions to this and and stop worrying instead of concentrating on things where you can have an impact instead of thinking about those uh negative or uh impossible issues where

you cannot really make any kind of a change yeah absolutely uh josh can you talk a little bit more about um something that gets often asked is that when you do experimentation how can you experiment with people is it isn’t that unethical or then if if you are uh building a space rugged you cannot embrace failure i mean it’s dead serious so can can you talk more about that we have heard those earlier yeah no that’s a that’s a brilliant question so um well actually let’s use the example of a rocket if you’re going to build a rocket do you build the whole rocket like mika you and i get together we decide to start the um uh fuso the the finnish u.s space agency right all right we started a joint space agency um we’re gonna we’re we’re gonna have a go at it let’s just try to do we build the whole thing at one time and we launch it and we put people in it or a monkey or whatever and uh and see what happens um my argument’s probably not not if we’re trying to be sick we we probably build a little bit at a time and we probably test a little bit we’re not gonna have a an astronaut test the comfort of the chair for the first time when they’re sitting on top of ten thousand pounds of you know solid booster accelerant um we’re going to have them test the chair here in the room and see how it works and we’re going to recreate pieces of that experience but at the same time we’re testing components of it and then we’re probably going to put those components together and test how those components interact that’s sort of systems integration period experimentation is really about um if you imagine a two by two i should probably have a visual for this i mean i do somewhere um identifying what are the what are the riskiest assumptions that you’re making when you’re you know hypothesizing about your your your intervention um breaking those down into their component assumptions um and then also identifying which one of those kind of matter the most so i’m looking at risk and i’m looking at at priority or sort of how vital the success of a particular component is i might wait to test the chair uh on the rocket ship but i might test the engine first because i if if the engine doesn’t work none of the rest of it works it doesn’t matter if i build a wonderful astronaut chair that’s a technical term by the way astronaut chair i’m sure that’s what they call them um but no i’m looking at what is my riskiest bit what is my sort of most mission critical bit and i’m experimenting i’m building experiments that test just that component and then i’m going to say okay rocket engine down what’s next and i’m go from there um so we break our we break our problems we break our solutions uh into into their constituent components and we identify which components which assumptions which hypotheses uh most are most critical and are most in need of testing we test those first as for the ethics um we’re never testing on someone period uh if you don’t eliminate that from your vocabulary eliminate that from your mental model we test with people and i think one thing that is um interesting uh it’s it’s completely fascinating i’ll share a little example of this um at care uh i worked with a brilliant guy his name is dan wetchler he’s on my team at care when we when we left care he ended up moving into the private sector it works on trans rights issues in the u.s it’s but it is a private company we used to bemoan and care the ways in which we were afraid of talking to rights holders as an organization all the time we were saying we need to go out and we need to try things with people we need to invite them in to provide feedback we need to and we were terrified of this as an organization and i think as a as a field development is strangely uncomfortable with inviting rights holders stakeholders to be integrally a part of the process and part of that is participating in testing and dame and i talked just a few weeks ago he said that he was getting ready he’s like we really need to like prototype this and test this new model with the customers who who are themselves in a vulnerable position these are these are trans folks in the us which can be very uh challenging plays but you know it is a it is a

for-profit service and he’s like i was so anxious that i was going to have to make this big long studious argument about all the reasons that we need to test that we that we de-risk that we actually do more justice to people when we enable them to be part of the process and it’s like i showed up and i was like i think we need to run a test and everyone was just like yeah okay go ahead and he’s like okay i guess i don’t need like the 50 page slide deck that i built to like convince you of the need to test things and i think you know it is a it is almost a bit paternalistic um of our sector to imagine that we can’t have a relationship with rights holders where they are um part of not tested on but part of shaping the product the service the the intervention and that we fear that they won’t understand that we’re testing um i think you forgive the cursing i think it’s kind of a shitty thing that we do uh that we imagine that that folks like can’t be with us and can’t can’t be part of that process and that’s a really long way of saying that we’re never testing on we’re testing with and that is actually in my estimation a more just way of shaping an intervention by enabling people to be part of it by providing enabling folks to provide not just feedback but like get in there and tweak it and at the same time when we test we’re never testing the whole thing at once that’s a pilot that’s an operational test that’s way down the line but rather we identify our highest risk and highest priority assumptions and we test components of our models mika how does that how does that sound to you uh sounds excellent for both both cases yeah that’s uh and it’s especially the ethical thing it’s so important to explain it and as you said do you understand what what do we really mean it’s not like treating people as guinea pigs to our kind of laboratory experiments but rather engaging with them as early as possible and that’s that’s a completely different angle yeah i fully agree um now it seems that unless uh there will be more questions I don’t see more others than lots of thank yous in the chat so then we are probably um having her hand up here but yeah yeah yeah just one question concerning that the usability of the design throughout the project cycle if I think of the think of a standard project or a program it has a duration of three years and uh easily what happens is that you plan it you take some method to plan it and then you find the solution and then you go into implementation and then you just implement so how would you keep that kind of sort of inquiring mind alive throughout three years uh so from a from a principle pers i think there’s a principle perspective and that’s a practical perspective um from the a principled approach that is a is an orientation toward iteration and acknowledging that even if we only have flexibility to make changes at the activity level we’re still doing that right we’re still way finding we’re still learning uh in a way that isn’t about learning from a midterm evaluation but building in ways of measuring the uh whether or not we’re on or off track even ideally daily right at the level of each exchange each interaction with the rights holder if we’re learning and we’re reflecting on that learning and we’re changing things as a result of that learning then then we’re iterating then we’re doing uh then we’re interrogating them we’re doing design in many ways we’re doing design work um practically uh i have used in the past um and my background is not my background is education i’m not an ict person i sort of fell into ict 4d that said i have borrowed a lot from the way modern companies build software as a service which is an acknowledgement that we’re building this software as we’re delivering it we’re building it over time and there are a number of methods roughly all under the umbrella of agile

if you’ve heard of agile that can be employed in order to stand up this build measure learn loop while we’re building while we’re continuing to deliver the service while we’re integrating the new uh sort of what we what we want to change what we want to shift uh what we want to introduce into that service provision uh into that into that existing model and so my recommendation is to explore um on twitter you can take a look at and i i’m not like a twitter person but this person writes predominantly on twitter because their audience is predominantly on twitter but they are brilliant full stop take a look at john cutler john cutler is a brilliant thinker on agile now he works in software but he thinks about agile and organization design agile and strategy agile and innovation in a way that really is um uh agnostic to the to the actual application i find his work matters as much for what i do in in development and doing the non-profit space as as what i do and when we’re building an actual like piece of technology um also uh broadly you know you can have a look at the body of thinking around agile and the ways in which i i think we’ll you you’ll really be very interested to discover the ways in which um agile as a as a practice and set of practices one map very well to the way we as development practitioners want to do our work where we’re sort of constantly learning and reflecting but acknowledging that we can’t just like stop like we can’t stop delivering um and also um and i’ll find this in the resource list i’m going to chat this to myself is i think you’ll be very uh i’ll include this in the resource list there’s an excellent article about the ways in which agile as a set of practices and principles is a manifestation of a feminist approach to developing solutions and i am fascinated by this article i think it’s it really demonstrates the way in which something that comes from software and feels like it should be very icky right maps very well to our principles in the development and and humanitarian space as well is that helpful on the right track great I’ll take and I’ll take a moderate thumbs up that’s okay thank you? yeah thanks a chili feminist if we google it we’ll probably find it so we’ll include it also as a link to the post afterward where we’ll include the slides and also the recording of this and we’ll place this also among in the learning material section of power bank so I think this is the time to let you have your morning coffee more of tea which is your biggest need at the moment I guess yeah what I can say thanks on behalf of everybody I really really enjoyed uh yeah thanks a lot because this was really great really really inspiring and great thank you everyone you take care