Summary of the Acumen/IDEO Human Centred Design Course: What is Human Centred Design?

Human-centered design is a creative approach to problem solving. It’s a process that starts with the people you’re designing for and ends with new solutions that are tailor-made to suit their needs.
 
Human-centered design is a process that can be used across industries and sectors to approach any number of challenges—from product and service design to space or systems design, to name just a few.
 
The human-centered design process has three phases—the Inspiration phase, the Ideation phase, and the Implementation phase. In the end, you’ll know that your solution will be a success because you’ve kept the people you’re looking to serve at the heart of the process.
 
In the Inspiration phase you’ll learn directly from the people you’re designing for as you immerse yourself in their lives and come to deeply understand their needs. In the Ideation phase you’ll make sense of what you learned, identify opportunities for design, and prototype possible solutions. And in the Implementation phase you’ll bring your solution to life, and eventually, to market.
Expect to find yourself shifting gears through the process, moving from concrete observations to highly abstract thinking, and then right back again into the nuts and bolts of your prototype. We call it diverging and converging. You’ll diverge and converge a few times, and with each new cycle you’ll come closer and closer to the solution that is best suited for the people you’re designing for.
 
Design thinking at work – positive deviance ; an approach that looks for solutions among individuals and families in the community who are already doing well.
 
As Monique Sternin, now director of the Positive Deviance Initiative, explains:
 
“Both positive deviance and design thinking are human-centered ap- proaches. Their solutions are relevant to a unique cultural context and will not necessarily work outside that specific situation.”
 
First stage – The inspiration space, the problem or opportunity that motivates people to search for solutions.
 
The Brief – the parameters for the team members
 
Once the brief has been constructed, it is time for the design team to discover what people’s needs are.
 
The starting point – observe the actual experiences of the people as they improvise their way through their daily lives.
 
The second space of the design thinking process is ideation.
 
“To have a good idea you must first have lots of ideas.”
 
To achieve divergent thinking, it is important to have a diverse group of people involved in the process.
 
To operate within an interdisciplinary environment, an individual needs to have strengths in two dimensions—the “T-shaped” person. On the vertical axis, every member of the team needs to possess a depth of skill that allows him or her to make tangible contributions to the outcome. The top of the “T” is where the design thinker is made. It’s about empathy for people and for disciplines beyond one’s own. It tends to be expressed as openness, curiosity, optimism, a tendency toward learning through doing, and experimentation.
 
Interdisciplinary teams typically move into a structured brain- storming process. One rule during the brainstorming process is to defer judgment. Instead, participants are encouraged to come up with as many ideas as possible then move into a process of grouping and sorting ideas.
 
Good ideas naturally rise to the top, whereas the bad ones drop off early on.
 
The third space of the design thinking process is implementation, At the core of the implementation process is prototyping, turning ideas into actual products and services that are then tested, iterated, and refined.
Through prototyping, the design thinking process seeks to uncover unforeseen implementation challenges and unintended consequences in order to have more reliable long-term success.
 
After the prototyping process is finished and the ultimate prod-uct or service has been created, the design team helps create a com- munication strategy.
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2 thoughts on “Summary of the Acumen/IDEO Human Centred Design Course: What is Human Centred Design?

  1. I’m super jelly of your attending an IDEO course. It’s on my list for when i can afford it(that reminds me, i promised myself i’d read their book sometime, i’d better start looking for it). Good luck with applying it

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