The Value of Human-Centered Design
HCD provides us with a new way of solving our seemingly unsolvable problems. A piece of the answer to our collective challenges lies within each of us - in our humanness. We are part of both the problem and the solution. HCD goes beyond quantitative thinking to provide a more qualitative and human approach by placing our humanness at the center of the process.
HCD provides the possibility of transforming the unarticulated needs into a new product - disrupting the current marketplace. Think about it! Starbucks understood that the human need of being in a community was more valuable than a cup of coffee. Uber realized the need to create an unstructured and flexible income stream while going to school or caring for an elderly family member was more important than transportation from point A to B. These human values (unarticulated needs) became game-changers and market disrupters - creating whole new markets and market leaders.
PROOF OF CONCEPT
HCD strives to produce a physical prototype and a pilot. Unlike other innovative and collaborative processes, HCD leads the group to create a solution in a physical form that can easily provide feedback, testing, iteration, and have immediate impact. This process goes way beyond talking, brainstorming, and flip-charts.
HCD integrates the human attributes and values from the design process seamlessly into the build and marketing efforts. Think about it! In past models, a new solution or product offering is developed. Then, and only then, are the human elements retrofitted into the marketing effort. This process usually creates a misalignment between the product design and product story, which causes customers to question the authenticity and value.
HCD establishes a structured and safe place where stakeholders can practice new ways of being - empathy, altruistic, and ambiguity. Empathy is about having a deeper understanding of self and others. Altruism is wanting the best for all those involved, and ambiguity is where not having the answer and letting it unfold becomes the norm. It is about learning to trust. It is about developing the next generation of leadership.
HCD emulates the four stages of community-building developed by Dr. Scott Peck, which encourages organizations to practice new ways of interacting.
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By C. Pate Moore, Senior Human-Centered Design Strategist