Human-centered design, also known as design thinking, is an approach to problem-solving that includes a deep inquiry into the needs of people using the product or service, creative brainstorming, and repeated prototypes.
The simplicity and flexibility of the framework allows organizations to develop and test new ideas to make sure they meet real needs, generally in a fairly quick and low-resource way.
Human-centered design has been popularized by organizations such as Stanford's d.school and IDEO. Once the province of designers and engineers, design thinking is now being adapted and applied to a wide range of uses, from health care services to education.
Lean startup principles, developed by Eric Ries, draw from lean manufacturing to establish a framework to design and test new products or business concepts. The concept of "lean" development has its roots in lean manufacturing principles that emphasize reducing waste and inefficiencies. The core focus is on clients' needs, prototyping, and testing in a series of iterations.
Lean analytics is a systematic process used to determine what you need to learn, choose the most effective metrics, and assess the impact of your work. Design thinking is an approach to problem-solving that includes a deep inquiry into the needs of people using the product or service, creative brainstorming, and repeated prototypes.
The Four Disciplines of Execution, with its emphasis on a Wildly Important Goal, is a framework for highly disciplined execution. It gets the whole team focused on what activities will move the needle to maximize impact.
Here are some favorite introductory resources:
Ease out of conflict
This “lightweight conflict resolution process” gives a great overview of how we get triggered into conflict (like threats to our competence or our autonomy)—and what to do about it when we do. Described by Kimberly Bringas of Helpscout, with props to mediator Mark Baril.
What question are we asking, anyway?
Check out my webinar on Leading With Curiosity, about how to build a curious mindset to design better practices for managing change. Special bonus: the Top Ten Questions to lead you through change.
Rethink prototyping for the social sector
Many human-centered design tools need some reshaping to fit the needs of the nonprofit world. Prototyping, for example,
“doesn’t work as well in the social sector, given the sector’s complex ecosystems, wide range of stakeholders and variables, and sensitivity to both perceived and actual “do no harm” requirements. Doing a single-variable probe…is too simplistic. The idea—the prototype—needs to live as part of the community, and requires that innovators and designers hand over control and authorship of the prototype to the community—something many of them find hard to do.”