IDEO Human-Centered Design for Social Innovation

“The Design thinking process is best thought of as a system of overlapping spaces rather than a sequence of orderly steps.”
Tim Brown & Jocelyn Watt, Design Thinking for Social Innovation

Recently, I completed the +Acumen and IDEO course Human-Centered Design for Social Innovation with three recent graduates from DD27, Sarah Gillis, Denise Villanueva and Daniel Quintero.

For the seven-week course, our team tackled the design brief “How might we enable more young people to become social entrepreneurs?” We felt this topic was hyper-relevant to Vancouver’s entrepreneurial and start-up culture. Our team went through a rigorous UCD process that moved through the three spaces of Inspiration, Ideation and Implementation outlined by the IDEO.

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Wearable Technology and eHealth: Final Videos

We are so excited to unveil the students promotional videos of their Wearable Technology and eHealth design solutions. The final deliverable of this course is a 90-second motion piece that tells the story of their design process and how their solution adds value to meet the users needs.

One challenge they were given is to present rough prototypes mid-process. A key objective of this video is to provide a current snapshot of the work and explain what next steps they would take if given resources of funding, experts and time.

I am pleased to present the final videos (after the Read More break), enjoy!

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Wearable Technology and eHealth: Lesson Five


Student prototypes of wearable objects and smart phone interfaces are starting to shape up. This week the students have refined their ideas and each group is iterating and refining the user experience of their solution.

Physical mock-ups of their wearable devices are being developed as the simultaneously work on the interface of the corresponding app. Using the POP: Prototyping on Paper app they were able to add interactions and test the system. Rapid Iterations are encouraged as students test and refine (and repeat) to gain valuable user feedback and make improvements.

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Wearable Technology and eHealth: Lesson Four


We have reached the midpoint of our journey into the wearable technology course. Rapid Prototyping and Journey Mapping was the theme for lesson four. The students began by presenting the progress of their prototypes. They walked through how their ideas were transformed through validating assumptions with targeted users. Building on knowledge and experience from the Venture Studio workshop, they used either the Lean Startup Machine Validation Board or the Javelin Experiment Board as part of their process.


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Wearable Technology and eHealth: Lesson Three

Tech gadgets are fun to play with, but how can we build on existing technology to form new and innovative eHealth solutions? Our third lesson of the Wearable Technology and eHealth course investigated these possibilities.

I began by introducing students to a brief history of connectivity. Our discussion then focused on biohacking and principles for designing with empathy in order to humanize product systems. We concluded that context is king. Building off of the VanUE event hosted at VFS earlier in the week (coincidentally focused on Wearables) our key point landed on a quote from the speaker, Kharis O’Connell. He talked about how “the biggest challenge will be finding compelling use cases for all this technology.”  

To apply these conclusions into tangible solutions, a studio-style workshop gave students an opportunity to use the devices from lesson two as prototyping tools. (hint: more playing with gadgets!). Groups built conceptual connected objects to respond to a health-related end goal and experience goal of their personas. This time they enhanced the available technology with cardboard, Legos, string, tape, straws and a variety of other materials.

One highlight of the session utilized the Sphero. A pair of students worked to create a digitally enhanced system for guiding the visually impaired. In the duration of the workshop they were able to prototype and test at least six iterations that enhanced the Sphero using balloons, string, a grocery bag, straws and cardboard. Starting with an ankle-based guide for a wheelchair user they learned that their hands were more adept in sensing directional movement. The students learned through testing their product that it worked best on carpet and needed further revision to be street-ready.

In this lesson, the class focused on tactile learning through making objects. As we move forward in the course we will be returning back to the smart phone and prototyping interfaces to test with our products. Stay tuned for more wearable and eHealth problem-solving fun.


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