FIP 124: Using Design Thinking in the Needfinding Process with Elizabeth Knight

This week on the Finding Impact Podcast, we find out how design thinking concepts can be used to improve the needfinding process and ideation. We talk with Elizabeth Knight, Founder of Purposeful, a new social enterprise empowering young people to create careers driven by purpose. Purposeful gives young people a structured way of finding their purpose. It’s their mission to help an entire generation feel confident, motivated, and excited about their futures.
They’re founded by young people, for young people and they’re launching their first series of programs in 2020.

On this podcast you will learn:

  • How Andy and Elizabeth are dealing with the new world of COVID 19 – structured journaling with pen and paper. (3:55)
  • What is needfinding and why is it important? (4:30)
    • It’s important because it’s a shift in terms of how we think about entrepreneurship and creating value as an entrepreneur; building a business or enterprise around a need (real problem) rather than a singular idea gives greater scope to produce value and to solve a problem in a sustainable way; it’s about core needs and what people are willing to pay for.
  • If you take away the beginning pressure of having to come up with a business model that’s going to be profitable but focus on finding a real need that people are experiencing then you get to know that problem in a lot more intimate way and the more you become the expert on that problem the better; potential profitable is short-term thinking nowadays. (7:05)
  • If we’re designing solutions for lower income people in informal settlements (11:03)
    • Design thinking gives you a tool / framework to explore that problem in more detail.
  • How design thinking has helped Elizabeth. (13:57)
    • Helpful for simplifying her problem down into its core essence which helped in communicating to other people; but also challenged her biases, assumptions, etc.
  • When does she know that enough is enough and when to move on? (20:20)
    There is a tipping point where you’ve done so much validation that it can become confusing; when you get to that point that is when strategic thinking is important particularly for early stage founders.
  • Tools that people can use in this process: (25:52)
    • Lean canvas – essentially a one page business plan which captures your assumptions, the problem you’re trying to solve, your solution, your customers, revenue stream, unique value, etc. all on one page; does not account for the role of the individual and does not allow you to explore what you’re passionate about and your strengths.
    • Empathy – not a bad thing to overcompensate; always put yourself back into your customers shoes.

Resources from this episode:

Connect with Elizabeth: