Human-centred design

Human-centered design is a creative approach to problem solving.

It’s a process that starts with the people you’re designing for and ends with new solutions that are tailor made to suit their needs. Embracing human-centered design means believing that all problems, even the seemingly intractable ones like poverty, gender equality, and clean water, are solvable.

The human-centered design consists of three phases. In the Inspiration Phase you’ll learn directly from the people you’re designing for as you immerse yourself in their lives and come to deeply understand their needs. In the Ideation Phase you’ll make sense of what you learned, identify opportunities for design, and prototype possible solutions. And in the Implementation Phase you’ll bring your solution to life, and eventually, to market. And you’ll know that your solution will be a success because you’ve kept the very people you’re looking to serve at the heart of the process.

In April 2015, launched the Field Guide to Human-Centered Design. A 192-page book and open-source toolkit, the Field Guide outlines seven mindsets of human-centred design: Empathy, Optimism, Iteration, Creative Confidence, Making, Embracing Ambiguity, and Learning from Failure. The Field Guide includes an explanation of 57 design methods and is full of worksheets and case studies that show human-centered design in action.

You can find the Field Guide below in the resources. How would you translate the problem you are trying to solve into a design challenge? Do you find any of the 57 design methods particularly useful?

Share this article:

This article is from the free online course:

Social Enterprise: Turning Ideas into Action

Middlesex University Business School

Get a taste of this course

Find out what this course is like by previewing some of the course steps before you join: