Giving Compass’ Take:
• Including customer and community feedback for more insightful data will help bring about more effective results in design-thinking.
• How can donors ensure that organizations are capitalizing on client feedback and input when collecting data?
• Check out the Power of Feedback Magazine on Giving Compass to understand how client input can help advance organizational missions.
Taking a page from the private sector, global public health organizations have become obsessed with human-centered design, applying it to an array of projects, from handwashing in Kenya to Ebola outbreaks in Nigeria. They’ve used it to understand their “customers”—the people targeted by their programs—through the familiar tools of the design-thinking trade: interviews, observations, co-designing with communities, rapid prototyping, and quick testing of solutions.
Yet design thinking alone won’t help us understand the 800 million people living in poverty, our customers in global health. The complexity of their needs calls for more comprehensive efforts in both diagnosing the problem and designing solutions. Above all, we need to focus on better data that go beyond simple tallies.
We must do more than collect the “what” information, such as how many women are breastfeeding. We must also know why our customers do what they do. We need to understand the structural factors, policies, laws, individual beliefs, motivations, biases, and influencers that play a significant role in how people make choices.
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Combining qualitative research with data from large samples of the population moves us beyond design thinking’s anecdotal approach and closer to generating truly useful insights about our customers and the systems that surround them. But how? Here are three steps to guide the way:
- Know What Data to Look For
- Know What Data Already Exist
- Spend Wisely
We must include our customers in the design of our solutions, but it can be only one element of our approach. We also need the rich insights found within robust data. Our thinking, language, and toolbox must expand. A customer-centered approach to global health must include data that ensures we understand not just the “what,” but also the “why” of the people we’re trying to help.
Read the full article about design data in global development by Sema Sgaier at Stanford Social Innovation Review
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