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Starting from the why: innovation for project design

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Starting from the why: innovation for project design

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Based on a similar workshop run by UNDP's Innovation team, participants were introduced to the principles of innovation and design thinking, with an eye to how these concepts can be useful for framing project design in the peace and development space.

Based on a similar workshop run by UNDP's Innovation team, participants were introduced to the principles of innovation and design thinking, with an eye to how these concepts can be useful for framing project design in the peace and development space.


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Starting from the why: innovation for project design

  1. 1. Where do you have your best IDEAS?
  2. 2. Innovations are not totally random
  3. 3. Assumptions & Needs Needs and Assumptions
  4. 4. Always ask: “Why are things as they are?”
  5. 5. Go one step further - always ask “Why else could things be as they are?”
  6. 6. How else could it be?
  7. 7. HOW CAN A PARTICIPANT GET THE MOST OUT OF THE ROTARY SYMPOSIUM IN A NOVEL WAY? The challenge you will address for the rest of this workshop:
  8. 8. Point of View (POV)
  9. 9. POINT OF VIEW [POV] A statement that ● Describes who the user is ● What their need is ● And the underlying assumption of that need “[USER] needs [NEED] because [ASSUMPTION]” Why? To have a guiding baseline to check your ideas against
  10. 10. “The student needs a faster way to do her homework, because she feels like it’s a waste of her time.” “The office worker needs to take walks every day, because he wants to stay healthy despite a job that keeps him in his desk all day.” EXAMPLES
  11. 11. POINT OF VIEW STATEMENT (POV) ● Step 1: Describe the user (you, your peer, or both of you) ● Step 2: think of a few needs the user has ● Step 3: Pick the most relevant need and think about why this is such a strong need (assumption) ● Step 4: Create a relevant POV statement
  12. 12. Rapid Brainstorm
  13. 13. 36 IDEAS NON-STOP ▧ Goal: Force your brain to get standard ideas out quickly and then go beyond them ▧ Principles: ○ quantity over quality ○ there are no wrong ideas ○ force yourself to write write write
  14. 14. 36 IDEAS NON-STOP ▧ Step 1: Take the numbered paper ▧ Step 2 (on my mark): Start writing ▧ Do NOT stop writing, not even 2 seconds to think ▧ Repeating ideas is ok, insane ideas are ok - as long as you DON’T STOP WRITING ▧ 7 min
  15. 15. IDEA REVIEW & SELECTION ▧ Review the ideas you just wrote up ▧ Pick one that you think addresses the POV very well and that excites you ▧ It’s ok to continue to modify the idea a bit ▧ 5 min
  16. 16. Prototyping
  18. 18. QUICK & SIMPLE PROTOTYPING METHODS Physical Drawings Role Plays
  19. 19. CREATE YOUR FIRST QUICK PROTOTYPE ● Think about how you can test your idea as quickly as possible (i.e. right here, right now) ● Prepare the prototype now ● 10 min
  20. 20. CREATE YOUR SECOND QUICK PROTOTYPE ● Demonstrate your prototype to a partner & collect feedback ● Plan out how you are going to test your idea further in the course of the symposium ● 10 min
  21. 21. A RANDOM LIST OF METHODS ● Interviews ● User photo studies ● Observation studies (thoughtless acts) ● Active Research Probes ● Extreme User probes ● Analogy collection ● Empathy Map ● Customer Journey Map ● Analogies ● Nuggeting & Extracting needs ● Why-How-Laddering ● “How might we” Statement Refinement ● 100 Ideas Non-Stop ● Bodystorming ● Restricted Brainstorming ● Idea-Expansion ● Extreme Cases ● 6 Hats Brainstorming ● Analogy brainstorming ● Reverse Brainstorming ● Fake Door ● Mechanical Turk ● Impersonator ● Pinocchio ● One-Night Stand ● Minimum Viable Product
  22. 22. HOMEWORK ● Try out and expand your prototype over the course of the Symposium ● Revisit your POV statement; is it true? Why? Why not? ● Observe your environment and how things are done or used - ask yourself “why” and then “why else”
  23. 23. Innovation = Good Assumptions about a need + Relevant Solutions + Efficient Execution Assumption Check POV Brainstorming Prototyping ©️ Benedikt Glatzl SUMMARY
  24. 24. SUMMARY
  25. 25. REFLECTION ● How do you think this methodology might be useful in your work? If it is not useful, is there some element that you would like to hold on to or adapt?

Notes de l'éditeur

    What do you think of when you think of “innovation”?
    Me too, and it kind of intimidated me.
    But here’s the thing. Innovation is everywhere.
    These are the kinds of questions I have been engaging at UQ, through courses on peacebuilding and development; gender and social justice, and international law/policy/governance. They are also the questions framing my research project on the extent to which gender quotas affect gender justice (both in terms of legal and social change) in post Arab Spring Tunisia and Egypt.

    Status quo peacebuilding and development work is based on the assumption that problems are complicated- meaning there are many components, and it can be confusing and time consuming to understand the pieces.
    But in the end you can apply a linear solution - if you take action A you will get B result (like following instructions for building an Ikea desk). This is how we get traditional M&E that uses logframes, etc.
    The problems is . . .
    Peacebuilding and development problems are complex, not complicated, and we therefore need non-linear responses.
    They are complex in the sense that there are many changing variables that we can’t anticipate - because this is what happens when humans and the planet are involved - you can’t assume that putting in X will give you Y.
    So we need to address complex problems through non-linear solutions.
    Here at UQ, I learned that this is called adaptive peacebuilding, and this is actually a move that the field of peace and conflict is going towards.
    Cedric de Coning wrote “The next phase in the transition seems to be characterised by a more open-ended or goal-free approach towards peacebuilding, where the focus is on the means or process, and the end-state is open to context-specific interpretations of peace” (Cedric de Coning, 2018)
    Adaptive peacebuilding is based on complexity theory, systems thinking, ecology
    The SG of the UN, Antonio Guterres, announced what he called the “sustaining peace” agenda last year, which is recognizes that peace and conflict are actually linked, and we need to reorient towards a more adaptive peacebuilding process.
    Because I had done work at the grassroots, I wanted to understand how this looks from the level of the UN, so for my AFE I went to UNDP, and joined the team responsible for testing and pushing new development solutions.
    Innovation for development is about disrupting the way things work, or don't… and using creative approaches for solving difficult problems that people experience every day.
    So what is the innovation lens?
    To me it is three things.
    Asking why, digging deeper
    Putting the user at the center
    Adapting and learning over time, not just finishing and walking away
    So how did I become interested in this innovation process, and what does it have to do with peacebuilding and development?

  • Visual Thinking Exercise (as a group, 2 minutes per example)
  • Image of Family
    Key takeaway: Suspending assumptions is important
    Cultural differences, personal differences, we are actively seeing things through our own lens whether or not we know it, so we need to check our assumptions with the user to see if it is right.

    Image: Deregowski, Jan B., (1973). Illusion in Culture in Gregory, R. L. & Gombrich, E. H. (Eds.) Illusion in Nature and Art (p. 165) London: Duckworth
    People from Est Africa tended to see this as this as a family group in which a young woman is carrying a four-gallon tin on her head. This is not an uncommon occurance in that part of the world. Westerners tend to see the "tin" as a window; something they are more familir with.
  • Here is an example.

    I am a commuter biker, so I often see paths like these.
  • 1) 2) “Desire Paths”
    People innovate to solve problems and to improve design flaws. Listen.

    But there are also paths like these.

    The path on the left is an example of innovation:
    Users identified a problem
    Tested a solution
    And over time continued to adapt the solution to meet their needs

    What this says to me is that the city planners didn’t do 3 things:
    They didn’t check their assumptions -- they assumed that bikes use the same path as cars
    Didn’t design with the user. The people who actually care about the paths (bikers) would have noted the need for two.
    Didn’t experiment or adapt. When they realized the need wasn’t what they assumed, or that it had changed, they could have adapted and made a second path.

    This means they didn’t have their innovation lens on.
  • 3) Coffee Cup and Charger
    What does this action suggest the coffee company, charger, and table designers might do differently?

  • Assumptions
    Badly Identified Assumptions vs Well Identified Assumptions
    Therefore always ask….
  • Blue jeans: Were indeed invented during the Gold Rush in the US, when a tailor was asked by the wife of a laborer to make sturdy pants for her husband. The tailor (Jacob Davis) used denim (which had previously been used for tents, horse blankets, and wagon covers) to make the pants, and put copper rivets where pants usually unravel to keep them secure. Levi Strauss was the owner of the store that sold the denim cloth, the two of them partnered and patented the idea.
    Initially Levi Strauss made two naturally colored denim jeans, "cotton duck" (brown) and indigo blue. Unlike most natural dyes that when heated penetrate cloth fibers directly, indigo binds externally to cloth's threads. Every time the jeans are washed, a tiny amount of dye is stripped way, along with tiny amounts of thread. This process softens and individualizes the color, makes the blue jeans increasingly comfortable and unique to the body wearing them over time. Eventually Levi Strauss stopped producing brown altogether, because it "felt like wearing a tent". So in short, blue jeans are blue because out of the two colors initially produced, blue was more comfortable. Read more here. 
  •  The image in our slide reflects a set up that is teacher-centered, rather than student-centered. The classroom is meant to maximize space to fit as many pupils as possible, so that they can learn from the teacher.  It doesn't take into account other design elements like daylight, color, or acoustics as being relevant to a classroom experience.
    Design has been shown to matter for student success - a study carried out in California analysed the test score results of over 21,000 student records from three school districts in the US. Controlling for other variables, it found that students with the most natural day lighting in their classrooms progressed 20% faster on math tests and 26% on reading tests in one year than those with the least natural light. (from here)


    This is a classroom. Raise your hand if you have ever been in a classroom that looks something like this.
    Now raise your hand to tell me - why is it this way? More specifically:
    What does this classroom say about the role of the teacher?
    What does it say about the role of the student?
    Who do you think was the priority in designing this classroom? (teacher or student)?
    Now let’s imagine we are designing a classroom here, but one which puts the students at the center.
    Let’s take a couple ideas. What might you do differently?
    For our imaginary classroom we may have to test different things to see what works. Maybe we start with some of the ideas that you suggested. Maybe we try to connect with teachers and students in other classrooms to get ideas from elsewhere and see what works.
    Here are a few ideas I found of classrooms in Nigeria, Korea, Denmark, and the US.
    We have students sitting outside, on a boat, teaching each other, decorating the space themselves.
    Your ideas and the ones on this slide are all examples of innovations. Some of them are not new -- people have sat in circles to learn before! - but what is innovative is that they are taking something that seems obvious and looking for a solution that actually works better for the people who should be at the center.

  • We need to start from a Point of View (POV)
    Examples of POVs
    POV statement description
    Exercise (individually or in pairs): [10 minutes]
    Handout #2: User, needs, assumptions
    Handout #3: Develop your POV Statement
  • Eine Idee pro Post it
  • Eine Idee pro Post it
  • Eine Idee pro Post it
  • The answer is: Prototyping.
    Started with the easiest possible way to make an idea come alive and then in tiny steps moved forward from there
    I’m sure all of you have heard of or even used prototyping
    In this talk I want to point out how valuable prototyping is and show a few very simple methods everyone in this room will be able to use to build better product - or simply improve their every day life
    But let’s start from the basics - what is prototyping?

  • Based on Pretotyping: http://www.pretotyping.org/
  • Extreme User probes = selecting people who represent “extremes” of your user group (if testing a cooking appliance, talk to a chef and someone who never cooks)
    6 Hats Brainstorming: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Six_Thinking_Hats
    Bodystorming: https://dschool-old.stanford.edu/groups/k12/wiki/48c54/Bodystorming.html
    Analogy Brainstorming: https://hatrabbits.com/en/analogy/
    Reverse Brainstorming: https://dux.typepad.com/dux/2011/01/this-is-the-fourth-in-a-series-of-100-short-articles-about-ux-design-and-evaluation-methods-todays-method-is-called-rever.html
    “The Fake Door” is good for testing the initial level of interest in as-yet unbuilt products or services. The test captures the % of those exposed to the offer who are interested enough to respond (by e.g., calling or clicking through). Examples: a brochure for an unbuilt product; a search engine keyword campaign, e.g., Google AdWords.
    “The Pinocchio” is good for testing the appeal of the basic form factor and esthetics of a proposed new offer. Example: a wood or composite model, e.g., Hawkins’ Palm Pilot dummy.
    “The Mechanical Turk” is good for testing the initial level of interest in product or service that depends upon as-yet unbuilt complex technology such as software or hardware.Example: human expertise used to simulate artificial intelligence proposed for an app.
    “The Impersonator” is good for testing the initial level of interest in as-yet unbuilt products or services that require full-scale exposure to customers. Especially valuable for food and beverage products. Example: repackaged or re-”skinned” existing product masquerading as a developed product.
    “The One-Night Stand” is good for testing the initial level of interest in a service experience whose customer benefits depend upon the complex interactions between several environmental factors. Example: a pop-up or temporary service environment such as a kiosk.
    “The Minimum Viable Product”* is good for testing the initial level of interest in the core functions of a largely undeveloped product. This is the transition point to more traditional prototyping. Example: a working prototype with bare minimum functionality.
    ABOVE FROM: http://www.managementexchange.com/hack/pretotype-it-make-sure-you%E2%80%99re-building-right-%E2%80%9Cit%E2%80%9D-you-build-it-right


    I also invite you to connect with me - I would love to learn more about the ways you are addressing challenges in your communities in innovative ways, and to share more about the work of UNDP, other organizations I have had the privilege to connect with, and my research if you are interested.

    Thank you for being here, and I look forward to your questions as part of the Q&A and the discussion with my fellow panelists.
    So what is the innovation lens?
    To me it is three things.
    Asking why, digging deeper
    Putting the user at the center
    Adapting and learning over time, not just finishing and walking away
    So how did I become interested in this innovation process, and what does it have to do with peacebuilding and development?

    I have worked for the last decade in grassroots NGOs in the US, India, Morocco, and elsewhere, supporting grassroots social change work around issues ranging from HIV/AIDS in DC to memory politics around Guantanamo Bay, to sustainable livelihoods for traditional craftspeople in a small town in India, to working at an NGO based in Boston that worked with undergrads on campuses in 50 countries who were leading organizations working towards the UN sustainable development goals in their communities.

    And in this work, which was primarily directly with communities and grassroots NGOs, I noticed a few patterns, and these were patterns that kept bugging me.
    People at the center aren’t at the center. For example, if the local government in DC is designing programs for kids with HIV, these kids and their families probably aren’t the ones leading the development of the programs that will affect their lives. And that’s a shame, because from my experience people closest to the problem are already coming up with solutions - and often just need the support, resources, and connections to make these solutions real. They are also already challenging the system and asking “why?”.
    We aren’t taking the time to ask - “why”? Here I want to challenge my own slide. When I say “we”, I mean the global development community. As I said, people at the grassroots are already asking “why?”. The problem is that people in decision making roles - governments, policy makers, NGO workers, etc - either don’t have the time/capacity or aren’t thinking to stop and ask the deeper questions of why things are the way they are.
    We keep applying the same solutions. As a result, the people “doing” development and peacebuilding work continue to apply the same solutions, regardless of whether that solution is actually appropriate. What do I mean by that? And how does this connect to peacebuilding and development work?
    UNDP - United Nations Development Program, is a UN agency, works on issues ranging from governance and peacebuilding to climate change to gender
    Arab States = regional hub, 18 countries including Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, Lebanon, Qatar, Palestine
    Based in Amman Jordan
  • Forks
    Forks - The fork started out in Western Europe as an agricultural tool, eventually evolving to become kitchenware in the 1500s. Back then, early versions only contained two tines. Bill Bryson continues the story in At Home: "Eating forks were thought comically dainty and unmanly - and dangerous, too, come to that. Since they had only two sharp tines, the scope for spearing one's lip or tongue was great, particularly if one's aim was impaired by wine and jollity. Manufacturers experimented with additional numbers of tines - sometimes as many as six - before settling, late in the 19th century, on four as the number with which people seemed most comfortable. Why four should induce the optimum sense of security isn't easy to say, but it does seem to be a fundamental fact of flatware psychology."   In short, forks had two tines for awhile but it was painful, so forkmakers experimented and decided 4 was best.  I found the quote here, here is anadditional article about it.