HCD Class 1 - Reading

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What is HCD?

Design thinkers look for work-arounds and improvise solutions and find ways to incorporate those into the offerings they create. they consider what we call the edges, the places where “extreme” people live differently, think differently, and consume differently.

Local Experiences Disclose More Opportunities

Shanti and Naandi treatment center

 What failed here was that the centre forgot to make considerations on what the end users, such as Shanti would want. First of all the distribution quantity was fixed and too large - to transport back and forth for someone like Shanti. So even though she needed it, she opted out of this. And similarly others in the area might have opted out of the centre’s option to provide treated water at a cost. So in this case it was very crucial for them to have first made the necessary survey by interviewing the end users needs and then tailoring their solution by designing it to suit the needs of a large number of people accordingly. 

 So what we can learn from this is the importance of interviewing and doing a user reasearch before going ahead and designing something without that insight into the lives and needs of the people who are ultimately going to be using the solution. 


Malnutrition in Vietnam

The Sternin’s Positivie Deviance Initiative – observations made at Vietnam in relation to the malnutrition issue among the village children there. 

Positive Deviances – closely observe what is working for any positively deviant sample of the whole that is under observation to determine what distinguishes it from the rest and identify a quality, behaviour or practice or attribute that gives it the positive advantage over the rest of subject under consideration/ observation. Recognize a pattern in the positive deviant samples observed to determine and arrive at what’s working well and setting apart those samples from among the rest.


Mosquito Nets in Ghana

The Origin of Design Thinking

By 2001, ideo was increasingly being asked to tackle problems that seemed far afield from traditional design. A health care foundation asked us to help restructure its organization, a century-old manufacturing company wanted to better understand its clients, and a university hoped to create alternative learning environments to traditional classrooms. This type of work took IDEO from designing consumer products to designing consumer experiences.

The design thinking process is best thought of as a system of overlapping spaces rather than a sequence of orderly steps. There are three spaces to keep in mind: inspiration, ideation, and implementation. Think of inspiration as the problem or opportunity that motivates the search for solutions; ideation as the process of generating, developing, and testing ideas; and implementation as the path that leads from the project stage into people’s lives. The reason to call these spaces, rather than steps, is that they are not always undertaken sequentially. 

Examples of the Working Process of HCD




Case Study: Clean Team



“Because sanitation is a systems level challenge we knew that we couldn’t just design Clean Team’s toilet,” says team

member and designer Danny Alexander.  After six weeks of talking with sanitation experts, shadowing a toilet operator, digging into the history of sanitation in Ghana, and talking to scads of Ghanaians, key insights about what the toilet should look like and how waste should be collected emerged.


This was a lightning-fast phase in the project, one that leapt from learnings to prototypes in seven weeks. After brainstorming with its clients and everyday Ghanaians, the team determined which direction to take and began testing its ideas. What aesthetics did people like? Would a urine-diverting toilet work? Were people comfortable with servicemen coming into their homes? Where in the home would the toilet go? Can you design a toilet that can only be emptied at a waste management facility?

Though the team had a hunch about how the service would have to work, they put the idea to test by running a prototype. By enacting even just a portion of the eventual Clean Team service, the designers could learn how people would react not just to toilets in their homes, but also to others emptying them. Once potential subscribers experienced what it meant to have a full toilet, and how involved proper waste disposal would be, their desires changed.


Once the service offerings, and look and feel of the toilet were more or less fleshed out, WSUP ran a live prototype of the Clean Team service. Because tooling for toilet manufacture is so expensive, WSUP used off-the-shelf cabin toilets, which approximated about 80% of the toilets that IDEO.org would design to test the service. They got great results, went ahead with manufacturing.