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:

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:

Jocelyn Wyatt on the Finding Impact Podcast

FIP 002: Using Human-Centered Design to Create Solutions with Jocelyn Wyatt

In this episode, we talk to Jocelyn Wyatt about using human centered design to solve problems faced by social entrepreneurs.
Specifically, on this episode you’ll learn:
  • How you can use HCD early on in your business to figure out what resonates with the customer, what the most appropriate business model is likely to be, the service model, the brand, the product, but also to build new business offerings for new customer segments.
  • How you need to get the design question right in the first place, and how setting the design question up as an internal project with specific deadlines is key to the process.
  • How three days to two weeks is a good duration to aim for with your internal design challenge.
  • Why you should have internal and external project members on your design team to ensure you’re getting the most innovative and effective group addressing the design challenge.
  • Why someone else on the team, not the founder/CEO/social entrepreneur, is the best person to act as facilitator.
  • Why working in a team is so much more productive when trying to find solutions, compared to working alone.
  • Why good design is so important but often forgotten when creating lasting solutions for people at the base of the pyramid.
Useful links from this episode: (section that has the links)
Connect with Jocelyn:
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