FIP 129: Using Design Thinking in the Needfinding Process 2/3, with Juliana Proserpio of Echos Innovation Lab

In this episode of the Finding Impact Podcast I talk to Juliana Proserpio, Co-founder and Chief Design Officer of Echos Innovation Lab, on using Design Thinking in the needfinding process. Juliana talks about her work at Echos Innovation Lab and how it supports organizations and entrepreneurs to use the design thinking mindset for accelerating cultural change and creating new services and business models to create desirable futures.

On this podcast you will learn:

  • How Echos Innovation Lab has built a for-profit business that works with organizations to create and foster innovation initiatives, as well as building the design capability of individuals and organizations to create better and human-centered services through its School of Design Thinking. (01:30)
  • Design thinking is a way to understand people and people’s needs that helps develop solutions which address these needs better. The design thinking mindset is thus based on empathy, collaboration and experimentation. (02:37)
  • The double-diamond methodology of design thinking that focusses on using divergence and convergence methods for expanding knowledge of user needs (also called “discovery process” or “empathetic research”) and then converging (“synthesis”) upon real needs and specific ideas or insights that create value for the user. (04:15)
  • Tools for synthesizing, such as systems map, personas, etc., that can help in developing insights by understanding information patterns and interconnections. (11:30)
  • Key suggestions on how to manage the ideation stage of design thinking by thinking about quantity and not necessarily only quality (“you can only get to an amazing idea once you get some absurd ideas”). (15:36)
  • That design thinking is an iterative process where you ideate, prototype and test, while iterating and going back and forth between the various phases. (19:27)
  • Why social entrepreneurs need to have creative confidence for re-imagining how the world can be, and how design thinking aids in developing creative confidence. (23:21)
  • Advice for students and young founders looking to develop social ventures on how they can use design thinking to identify challenges within their communities (“near their doors”) – acting locally, starting small, and helping create value within the community first, and then aim at creating bigger impact (“dream big and start small”). (24:55)
  • About the School of Design Thinking at the Echos Innovation Lab, that helps individuals and organizations become better innovators through classroom programs and online courses on various design thinking topics. (26:30)
  • Examples of participants in the design thinking courses (such as Insecta Shoes) who have applied design thinking to their needfinding process and how it has helped them deliver the desired outcomes. (28:44)
  • Advice for first-time founders and social entrepreneurs to navigate the lockdown and the post COVID-19 situation – it is an opportunity for each one of us to re-design our world, where every assumption is being challenged, and the need for businesses to pivot their product or service in order to remain relevant. (30:52)

Resources from this episode:

Connect with Juliana:

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