Tiny Rebel
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Transforming an #analog book
into a #digital platform


Design Challenge

We were tasked with building an online platform and social network for human-centered designers tackling poverty-related challenges around the world.


Several years previously, IDEO created the HCD Toolkit, a guidebook for using human-centered design to tackle social sector challenges in the developing world. As part of this next phase of funding, we set out to transform the HCD Toolkit into a vibrant online platform. Over the course of two years, we grew the platform from just an idea in a Gates Foundation grant application, to a vibrant on-line community of nearly 60,000 people spanning the globe from rural Ghana to urban South Korea (along with almost every country in between). Members of the community shared their stories chronicling how their individual projects were using human-centered design to improve the communities where they worked and lived. Members also used the platform to connect and collaborate with other social entrepreneurs or just gain context into a particular local community.

In certain ways, the platform was a victim of its own success. Developed on a shoe-string budget given the audaciousness of our goals, the platform had a bad habit of crashing as more and more people joined the community. We also quickly discovered that so many enthusiastic members were sharing their stories, that it was a difficult task to curate the highest quality content best suited for others to learn from. As a result of some difficult strategic priority setting at IDEO.org, we decided to sunset the platform after three years of operation. RIP, HCD Connect.

My Role

I project managed the building, launching and scaling of the platform, while also pitching in with interaction design and storytelling when needed (which was quite frequently).