Design Kit: The Course for Human-Centered Design

​​Design Kit: The Course for Human-Centered Design is a seven-week curriculum that will introduce you to the concepts of human-centered design and how this approach can be used to create innovative, effective, and sustainable solutions for social change. This course has been created to reach those who are brand new to human-centered design, so no prior experience required (though we of course welcome previous students to continue honing your human-centered design skills!)


Our Learning Partner

Acumen is excited to partner with in offering this course. is out to design an end to poverty by bringing creativity, empathy, and innovation to the social sector. Our goal is to improve the lives of people in poor and vulnerable communities through design and we’re doing it in three ways: through the products, services, and experiences that we design; through the problem solvers we fuel; and by inspiring the social sector to adopt human-centered design.


What You'll Learn

This seven week course will:

  • Equip you with the mindsets and methods of human-centered design so that you can be more intentional about facing and solving your current challenges
  • Let you experiment with the power of human-centered design
  • Teach you to identify patterns and opportunities for concept development
  • Inspire you to approach challenges differently and experience how human-centered design can add new perspectives to your own work tackling poverty-related challenges
  • Give you hands-on experience speaking to, prototyping for, and testing solutions with the people you’re designing for

How the course works

You will work through the course with a group of 2-6 people we will refer to as your “design team”. It’s strongly recommended you form a team with people located in your city before starting the course but you will also have the opportunity to find a team using the course platform once the course starts.
You will learn the human-centered design process by applying it to one of three pre-crafted real world design challenges (provided in the course). You will also have a choice to craft your own challenge. Each week you will explore the main human-centered design concepts through readings, case studies, and short videos. Then you’ll be expected to meet in-person with your design team to get your hands dirty practicing the relevant human-centered design methods.

Throughout the course you’ll have the opportunity to interact and gain inspiration from design teams around the world taking the course with you and ask questions of experienced human-centered designers when you feel stuck.

Building your design team

​Many of the workshop activities will work best if your group has at least four members. Too small and you lose the benefits of a multidisciplinary team, but too large and it may be difficult to coordinate schedules and make decisions. Select people from different backgrounds or of different skill sets, and you’ll have a better chance of coming up with unexpected, innovative solutions.

No group?

  1. Recruit your friends/colleagues/family
  2. Once the course starts, you will receive instructions on how to form teams within the course platform

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a fee?

No, this course is free and open to everyone.

What is the time commitment?

4 to 5 hours per week.

Does everyone in my group need to register to the course individually?


Do my group members need to be in the same location?

Yes, in-person is recommended. During this course your team will be asked to go into your local community where you will use the human-centered design process as a design team. We have had teams take the course virtually but for the ideal experience its best to be working in the same community.

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. 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?

Yes, subject to course completion (completion of all assignments), you will receive a statement of accomplishment signed jointly by +Acumen and

More questions?

Please contact

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Community Stories

  • Melior Joseph and Ellen Feig

    St. Louise, Haiti and New York, US | "Human Centered Design for Social Innovation"

    The team  included Melior Joseph, a law student studying in St. Louise, Haiti and Ellen Feig, an assistant professor of English from Yonkers, New York.  Both individuals signed up for the course on their own. Neither could imagine how the course would unfold…

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