After working with hundreds of impact organizations we’ve learned three important lessons: design as learning, process as advocacy, and innovation as value creation.
Design as learning: planning, design, and development are rooted in adult learning.
- Safe places. Learning starts with trust and respect.
- Different paths. Each journey is unique.
- Blended learning. Face-to-face plus just-in-time.
Process as advocacy: simple, transparent, inclusive.
- Embrace paradox. Preserve ambiguity. Build both/and solutions.
- Bring data. Intuition and initiative informed by data.
- Diverge to converge. Ideate, funnel, test, go.
Innovation as value creation: improvement is incremental; innovation is harder but it delights users and creates value.
- Shared vision: Use pictures and stories to make ideas tangible.
- Just enough. Learn just enough to try, measure iterate. Fast is better than slow.
- Scale success. Turbocharge growth, build sustainability.
The goal of a planning and design process is a unique path to value creation. A necessary byproduct is team learning and metacognition. A thoughtful design process uncovers individual and team biases, builds mental models and change theories–the team gains appreciation for systems work and how impact might be produced and scaled. A healthy design process examines and reshapes agreements.
Design is learning, process is advocacy, innovation is value creation.
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