My Design

Process

Voices matter.

My design process is driven by a desire to listen to their needs and desires, and to empower them to create sustainable solutions. 

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Establishing Relationships and Framing

My core goal is to be able to solve problems from the perspective of those facing the problem. Before working on a problem from the target audience’s lens, 

  • I spend time identifying and establishing relationships with key stakeholders of the community and building partnerships with community-based organizations. 

  • I try to understand what success means to community partners. 

  • I also try to learn from others who have tackled similar problems in the past. (Secondary Research)

And at the end of this phase, I try to define project goals, timeline and overall questions that I need to find answers to.

Research

This stage involves:

  • Identifying all the stakeholders in the problem, and seeing the problem at a systemic level to get a 360-degree understanding.  

  • Listening, observing and creating tools to help uncover the underlying mindsets that cause the problem. 

  • I try to get context, and understand the problem’s background. 

  • At this stage, I end up with a whole bunch of research, important quotes from multiple perspectives, and important but ignored facts.

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Synthesize

Now it’s time to make sense of ALL the information gathered. This is one of my favourite parts of the process!

  • I try to see patterns in the information, bucket them, make connections, juxtapose information and create core insights from all the research materials.

  • At this stage, I also try to build alignment between the different stakeholders so as to use a similar language, and get an understanding of the what and why of the problem. 

  • I map the insights along with the entities involved, relationships between them and their attributes. I try to get feedback from different stakeholders to check my understanding. 

  • I identify various opportunity areas and then get the community’s votes to prioritize and define one area that they want to co-create with me.

Often (not always), I conduct another round of research and synthesis, to respond to people’s needs by creating guiding principles for the prototype.And other times I like to jump into concepting.

"We all want to work. we don't know how to start, what the step is."
“I want to do something...outside the home. I want to get a job. If I get english perfect."

INDIVIDUAL

QUOTES

Concepting
  • After creating the guiding principles for the prototype, I facilitate co-creation workshops to generate ideas with stakeholders on potential interventions.  

  • I group the community’s ideas, bucket them and come up with a few different concepts. 

  • Based on feasibility, desirability and viability, I ask the community to vote on their most-liked concepts.

Prototyping

On the concepts chosen by the community, I create and continuously refine solutions for sustainability with people through feedback, assumption testing and bias removal.

  • Based on the success criteria determined by the community, I create the lowest fidelity versions of the intervention called a prototype and test plans to determine the success. The rule is to fail fast and cheap! 

  • I then use different formats (one on one interviews/ surveys/ observation) to get feedback from the community on the prototype. Using an iterative process of feedback, building and testing, I identify the design elements to work on. 

  • I brainstorm with the community and find different solutions for the same. I create new versions of the prototype and repeat the cycle till I find an intervention.

Piloting

 I finally have the intervention! Now the focus is on creating a sustainable impact. 

  • Sustainability: How do I build the communities’ capacity to ensure that the intervention can exist without my presence. 

  • Impact: Am I meeting the goals I had set with the community?