Review HCD toolkit

Reviewing HCD toolkit

These last days in Lima we have continued our evaluation of the HCD toolkit by with the help of Barbara de Meijere, an anthropologist living in Lima.

We started off with a continuation of the discussion about the Deliver phase (what is it?) as described in a previous blog. We discussed the option of creating sub phases of the Hear, Create and Deliver phases in different sub phases: ‘discover’, ‘interpret’, ‘ideate’, ‘experiment’, ‘implementation’ and ‘evaluation’. This would mean that every phase (H,C and D) would consist of at least one diverging and one converging sub phase, making it more consistent with the iteration process which is considered so important within Design Thinking and also making it easier to translate the steps into the H, C, D canvasses. Bellow you can find visualizations of the current HCD phases, our proposed sub phases and the iteration process.

HCD Process 11032013

After that, we focused on getting insights in the sequence of all the separate steps and methods and whether there are steps and methods, which are redundant, and which steps and methods are missing. We did this by making lose pieces of paper of every step and method within the current HCD toolkit and laying them out in the sequence they are currently described in in the HCD toolkit. Then we started hustling the pieces of papers, adding new pieces of paper and removing pieces of paper. The result of this exercise now sticks on Barbara’s living room windows.


Bellow you see the current sequence of steps and methods described in the HCD toolkit in a visualization Jeroen made in illustrator.

IDEO's HCD Toolkit version

And the same visualization with our proposed sequence of steps and methods after brainstorming. In blue= process. In red= methods. In green= attitude.

IDEO's HCD Toolkit AIAD version

One of the things that immediately strikes you when looking at the above visualizations is that the new sequence of steps and methods seems a lot longer then the old. This seems very contradictory to our insight that a whole HCD process could be executed in less time then HCDconnect is currently claiming. We think this visual perception might be caused by making some steps explicit in the new sequence, that was not explicitly mentioned in the previous sequence. Although they were implicitly mentioned in other steps, case studies, on the website etc. One example is the ‘interpret’ step that is mentioned after information gathering in the H phase, but then never mentioned again after gathering information in the other phases. Another example is ‘choosing solutions’ which is never mentioned in the previous sequence of steps, but is implicitly present in the book, because in the next step the book expects that you continue the process with only 1 or a few solutions.

Other main insights gained by us during the brainstorm sessions were:

- We need to be more consistent in what a step and what a method is
- The different steps and methods need to be described in a equal matter
- The book and the tools/methods on the website are not always aligned. For example: there are tools on the
website which aren’t mentioned in the book and visa versa. This should be addressed at some point
- Maybe there should be more emphasis on the Design Thinking attitude in the book by explaining the Design
Thinking attitude in the introduction of the book and referring to different aspects of that attitude in the
steps/methods they are most relevant in
- Should the book maybe become even more of an instruction guide (with examples, inspiration, preparatory
tips)? To complement the book you might have free downloadable H, C, D canvasses and method cards, which
become then the real tools to take into the field?

We hope that we have the opportunity to test this new proposed sequence of steps and methods in our next project The Andean Alliance for Sustainable Development in Calca, Peru before presenting the improvements to in April. Before April we would also like to make separate cards of at least some tools/methods to test this as well. This might be a point of improvement as well. If we call it methods should the whole set of methods then not be a method kit? And if we call it toolbox, should we call the methods not tools?

All these cards should mention the following information:

- Description of the method
- Preparations to be taken (make a guide, buy post-its etc.)
- Tips
- Links to other websites, books etc. were they can find more information and an icon which should tell the user whether there is a movie on the method on the HCD website (we want to make at least one of these movies as an example in the next 2 weeks) and maybe another icon which tells them whether the method is described in a case study in the book

Should we also make separate cards of the steps or only describe the steps on the canvasses? Maybe this is something we still can look into on a later date and prototype this with a group of students using the canvasses and the cards?

Next to us working on this in Lima, Maria, a master student of Delft University of Technology will look at the HCD toolkit in combination with the Lean theory of Eric Ries for her graduation project in the Netherlands. She will do a similar evaluation of the current toolkit, but then with the Lean theory in mind. So more input to come….

What do you think: do you agree with our new sequence?

Author: Boukje & Jeroen

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One response to “Review HCD toolkit

  1. Pingback: Facilitate the design process | Am I a Designer? about Human Centered Design & Social Entrepreneurship·

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