Design thinking for real-world solutions

Posted by Beth Perkins on Dec 4, 2009 11:56:27 AM

InnoCentive was recently mentioned in the Stanford Social Innovation Review article titled Design Thinking for Social Innovation by Tim Brown and Jocelyn Wyatt. This is an interesting read; it talks about the value of “Design Thinking” for nonprofits to help them develop solutions for social problems.

Design Thinking is an approach to designing products and services that takes into account not just needs of the consumers, but also their social and cultural infrastructure. Socially, it can be about addressing the needs of women in third world villages collecting their daily water, or observing the ways in which “very, very poor” families keep their children healthy in areas where children were usually malnourished. It asks that the designer be “open” to seeing the flaws within systems and use their creativity, experience and open-mindedness to fill in the gaps.

InnoCentive is referenced as a good example of how design thinking can result in hundreds of ideas. CEO Dwayne Spradlin defines this “process [as] a prime example of design thinking contributing to social innovation” and cites our partnership with the Global Alliance for TB Drug Development. If you remember, the Global Alliance for TB Drug Development was looking for ways to simplify the current TB treatment regime, and selected a theoretical solution from a Solver who lives in India, Dr. Kana Sureshan. Dr. Sureshan’s mother developed TB when he was 14 years old. Since she was the sole breadwinner in his family, he had to take on the financial responsibility through his high-school and college years. Dr. Sureshan’s drive is palpable, and through his experience and education, he has been able to make a positive impact in the lives of people going through this treatment. As Dwayne says, it is these “projects within the InnoCentive community [that] benefit from such deep and motivating connections.”

Have a read; you will be inspired at how a conceptual approach that is fundamentally “optimistic, constructive, and experiential” can lead to some pretty cool solutions that help to create better lives for people.

Topics: Innovation Insights

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