In an effort to make sense of the insights collected from reading about design thinking (like Tim Brown’s Change by Design), and from a multitude of recent conversations with others either interested in the world of design or are designers themselves, I spontaneously drew the below mind-map during one lunch break at work:


Since not everyone is familiar with the term ‘design thinking’, I find myself having to explain the benefits of utilizing the perspectives of a design thinker very often. The conclusion I have reached so far of the value of design thinking, is their relentless focus on the human experience.

x social innovation

To deliver social impact, we must consider how our beneficiaries and users experience our service or product. Not only does this focus create sustainability for the project and opportunities to scale, but this is how you set the rules for a completely new game.

Specifically in international development projects, having a specific goal only to deliver quantifiable results may miss the very key contributors to why there was a lack of access in the first place. And even with access, did the beneficiaries actually feel empowered and dignified during the process? As someone working in the field of international development, I disappointedly rarely notice the latter question asked.

For business plans for product design, achieving the “bottom line” with short-term insights and goals may divert creativity and innovation that ultimately sustains a brand. Apple’s focus on user-experience is how they created their own game, and influencing how their competitors to design their own products and services.

Not only can focusing on the human experience excel our ideas into rewarding projects, but it also grants us a heavily empathetic understanding of the world and how we can shape it to deliver social impact.


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