Human-Centered Design for Social Innovation
Human-centered design has helped organizations in the public and private sectors innovate and grow for more than 30 years. IDEO.org is bringing the power of human-centered design to the social sector.
Human-Centered Design for Social Innovation is a five-week course that will introduce you to the concepts of human-centered design and help you use the design process to create innovative, effective, and sustainable solutions for social change. No prior design experience necessary.
Our Learning Partner
Acumen is excited to partner with IDEO.org in offering this course.
IDEO.org uses human-centered design to improve the lives of people in low-income communities across the globe. Together with its project partners, IDEO.org tackles the challenges of water, sanitation, health, financial inclusion, energy, education, employment and more.
Acumen believes in the importance of incorporating the principles of human-centered design when creating solutions to problems of poverty so that low-income customers are provided with choice, not just charity.
What You'll Learn
Businesses, social entrepreneurs and other innovators have used human-centered design for decades to create solutions for many different types of challenges. At its core, the human-centered design process is based upon the fundamental belief that gaining a deep understanding of the needs, hopes, and aspirations of potential customers and the lives they live yields incredible inspiration for new solutions. From this in-depth exploration into people’s experiences and environments, human-centered designers identify patterns and opportunities for concept development. And then it’s time to get tangible quickly, turning concepts into live prototypes and in-field experiments. Human-centered designers learn by doing and evolve their solutions based on real-time feedback.
This five-week course will equip you with the process and methods of human-centered design so that you can be more intentional about facing and solving your current challenges. This course is an invitation to experiment with the power of human-centered design. Let it inspire you to approach challenges differently and experience how human-centered design can add new perspectives to your work.
How the course works
There are no in-person teachers or facilitators for this course. You will work through the course with a group of 2-6 people we will refer to as your “design team”. You must find your team before you sign up for the course.
You will learn the human-centered design process by applying it to a real world design challenge. In preparation for each stage of the challenge, you and your team will explore the main human-centered design concepts through readings, human-centered design case studies, and short videos. When your design team meets in person each week, your team will conduct a series of peer-facilitated activities where you’ll practice relevant human-centered design methods and approaches. Each week, you will receive an e-mail with the materials for the upcoming workshop. The materials will consist of two things:
- Workshop Readings (1-2 hours): To be completed before your team meets for your workshop
- Workshop Materials (~2 hours): To be completed during your team’s weekly workshop
You will select a different member of your design team to prepare and facilitate the workshop each week. This “Weekly Leader” will be responsible for organizing the necessary space and materials needed before the workshop begins as well as facilitating and keeping time during the workshop.
There will be a homework assignment following workshops 2 and 4 where your team will be required to find and interview members of your local community (Week 2) and test your prototypes with users (Week 4). During the last week of the course, you will brainstorm with your team additional social sector challenges where you might apply human-centered design and commit to making the first step toward tackling a new challenge.
Building your design team
A team works best if it consists of a core group of 4 to 5 individuals. Many of the design challenge activities will work best if your group has at least four members. However, if your group is too big, it can be more difficult to coordinate schedules and make decisions. Select people who can contribute from different angles. You’ll have a better chance of coming up with unexpected solutions.
No group yet? Our course ambassadors are hosting meetups around the world to help you find other interested individuals to enroll in the course with. Click “find a group” above to learn when the next meetup is happening in your city or organize one yourself! E-mail email@example.com if you’d like to learn more about starting a meetup for this course in your city.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is there a fee?
No, this course is free.
What is the time commitment?
4 to 5 hours per week
Is this course just for +Acumen chapter members?
No, this course is open to both chapter and non-chapter members.
Do my group members need to be in the same location?
Yes. You should sign up with a group that is all physically located in the same place. During this course your team will select a design challenge and be asked to go into your local community where you will use the human-centered design process as a design team. Therefore, being able to meet in-person each week will be essential.
Is there a set class schedule every week?
No. There is a set curriculum to cover each week, but you are free to review the prep material and meet with your design team within each week whenever it is convenient for the group. So it’s a good idea to consider your team’s availability when forming a group.
Will a certificate be awarded upon completion of the course?
The course is really for you and your own personal development; therefore, you will get as much out of this course as you put in. We will provide an acknowledgement of participation for individuals that complete all 5 weeks of the course and complete all course surveys and reports.
How do I add more people to my group if I’ve already registered?
We are unable to accommodate group additions after the course has started.
Will this course be given again?
Yes, if this first course goes we will likely give it again in 2014.
Please contact Jessica Martin at firstname.lastname@example.org