Participation, collaboration, and engagement are words that come to mind when empowering communities with digital tools. These same words also belong to the methodology of design thinking. Design thinking is a process used to create innovative solutions from complex problems.
Live With Design, a group of designers, design thinkers, social entrepreneurs gathered at a MeetUp on Thursday September 16th; invited by Digital Democracy’s Co-Director, Mark into a process of participation and open collaboration. What ensued was a compelling glimpse of the challenges and opportunities that face DigiDem’s programs in Haiti.
Design thinking begins by asking big questions. How can we communicate Digital Democracy’s commitment to prevention of gender-based violence in Haiti? Who is it important to communicate it to? Where will it have the biggest impact? How can design’s role as a visual medium bridge stakeholder’s across various groups? For example, can information graphics be used to train a team on the ground in Haiti and paint a picture of the situation to activists in New York.
When asking these questions the challenge is twofold. Broad questions allows room for innovation and to move beyond assumptions. While asking abstract questions can lead the group away from results. That’s where Martha Denton, a visual communication strategist came in to keep us on track. By the end of meeting the group had several motivating takeaways to consider for the direction of this project.
Design thinking is a constructive and optimistic framework. Martha reminded the group the difference between design thinking and problem solving is that: if a solution does not already exist, a solution can be created. In other words the invitation is to be open to what one cannot imagine in the present. So can design transform data into action? Stay tuned as we unleash this exciting collaboration and find new areas to expand the impact of Digital Democracy’s work.
Guest Post by Brielle Maxwell, Creator and Innovator. Brielle is a social entrepreneur who dwells in the South Bronx and hails from Detroit. Brielle developed a passion for using design thinking while obtaining a B.B.A in Design and Management at Parsons the New School for Design. Brielle developed Live With Design to pursue opportunities at the intersection of design, technology and social innovation. Say hi to Brielle on twitter:@briellenyc