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Human-Centered Design Mindsets

Learn more about some of our human-centered design mindsets below! More information is available at Design Kit, brought to you by IDEO.org.

  • Empathy - Empathizing with the people you’re designing for is the best route to truly grasping the context and complexities of their lives. But most importantly, it keeps the people you’re designing for squarely grounded in the center of your work.
  • Optimism - Optimism is the embrace of possibility, the idea that even if we don’t know the answer, that it’s out there and that we can find it. Believing something is possible may somehow make it so. 
  • Embrace Ambiguity - We always start from a place of not knowing the answer to the problem we’re looking to solve. And though that’s not particularly comfortable, it allows us to open up creatively, to pursue lots of different ideas, and to arrive at unexpected solutions. 
  • Make It - When the goal is to get impactful solutions out into the world you can’t stay in the realm of theory. You have to make your ideas real. In the end, it doesn’t matter what you use, or how beautiful the result is, the goal is always to convey an idea, share it, and learn how to make it better. 
  • Learn from Failure - Failure is an incredibly powerful tool for learning. Designing experiments is at the heart of human-centered design. So is an understanding that not all of them are going to work.  That said, emergency situations are necessarily fragile environments in which “experimenting” with an idea might pose undue risk or harm on the community at hand.  With this Education in Emergencies Challenge, mitigating risk and ensuring due diligence is of utmost importance. This will be assessed on a case-by-case basis as part of a due diligence process. 
  • Creative Confidence - Creative confidence is the belief that everyone is creative, and that creativity isn’t the capacity to draw or compose or sculpt, but a way of approaching the world. It’s believing that you can and will come up with creative solutions to big problems and the confidence that all it takes is rolling up your sleeves and diving in. 
  • Iterate, Iterate, Iterate - We iterate because we know that we won’t get it right the first time. Or even the second. Iteration allows us the opportunity to explore, to get it wrong, to follow our hunches, but ultimately arrive at a solution that will be adopted and embraced. We iterate because it allows us to keep learning.
  • Nothing about us without us - while this challenge is open to a breadth of organisations, a core tenet is that impacted communities, both those in emergency settings, youth and children, and girls specifically, have a central voice in the evolution of the winning innovations.