As innovators embarked on the specific challenges of the CareerTech Challenge, they often dealt with new users in a new and complex pandemic environment. Going back to qualitative research and trying to understand this new cohort’s context, values, rituals, routines, specific challenges and needs was key to reflect on what they needed in the context of their lived experience. Checking and validating their riskiest assumptions by going back into qualitative research was instrumental in ensuring that the direction of travel was the right one for their new users.
Innovators used storytelling extensively to then translate complex concepts and beneficiary needs into concepts for future solutions. At the same time, a large repository of insight from research was emerging. Experience journeys and blueprints helped innovators map out a shared view of those user experiences as well as the different enablers they would have to put in place to serve their needs.
Using journeys to think about the service experience not only in their digital service, but also before using it and once they have left the service was a powerful way of building a solution that truly aligned with their needs in the context of their life. Journeys also proved a valuable tool to explore the needs of other ecosystem stakeholders, like funders, institutional clients or distribution partners.
Innovators de-risked their concepts by rapid prototyping, not only at the user interface level, but also at the value, concept or adoption levels. This led to a number of ‘aha’ moments during the support period driven by learnings attained during low fidelity prototyping sessions, role-plays, experience prototypes and interviews with institutional partners.
This approach also allowed innovators to develop tangible concepts faster and collect feedback from them vs having to build digital prototypes to collect early feedback.
Service design principles and practices have provided an effective platform for social innovation to come closer to its beneficiaries and stakeholders.
The mindsets and toolsets of the discipline embraced by teams as they explored the best fit for their beneficiaries have proven equally powerful to explore the needs of institutional partners and the viability of their business models.
Next time you are faced with addressing complex human challenges in a changing world, consider the principles and practices of human centered design and service design to achieve better outcomes.