Human-centered design is a problem solving approach that has huge potential for the social sector. With the right teacher, almost anyone can learn its basic tenants. And with enough practice, become an expert. At IDEO.org, we were increasingly asked to teach what we knew about human-centered design to organizations around the world. The problem was that we were a tiny organization at the time, with a team of only about 15 people. So we set out to create another way to teach the world human-centered design.
The best way to learn human-centered design is by 'doing', not by reading books or watching YouTube videos. With this in mind, we created an immersive curriculum that is very much like an 'analog bookclub' for learning human-centered design. Each week, a group of four to six people (aka, your design team) come together to tackle a real-life social sector challenge in the community, fueled by the curriculum and the activities that we created. Three years on, the course has been taken by over 100,000 people around the world and has empowered countless individuals and organizations to create more impact in their communities by applying the power of human-centered design.
I led the design team which created the Course for Human-Centered Design. Although we had great support from IDEO.org and the existing expertise at IDEO to build from, the bulk of the course was created during one crazy six-week sprint by Stacy Barnes (graphic designer extraordinaire) and me (writer, experience design).