Human-Centered Design Toolkit | IDEO


A free innovation guide for social enterprises and NGOs worldwide

For years, businesses have used human-centered design to develop innovative solutions. Why not apply the same approach to overcome challenges in the nonprofit world?

This project, funded by International Development Enterprise (IDE) as part of a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, sought to provide NGOs and social enterprises with the tools to do just that. IDEO, in collaboration with nonprofit groups ICRW and Heifer International, developed the HCD Toolkit to help international staff and volunteers understand a community’s needs in new ways, find innovative solutions to meet those needs, and deliver solutions with financial sustainability in mind.

The HCD Toolkit was designed specifically for NGOs and social enterprises that work with impoverished communities in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. The free kit, available for download here, walks users through the human-centered design process and supports them in activities such as building listening skills, running workshops, and implementing ideas. The process has led to innovations such as the HeartStart defibrillator, CleanWell natural antibacterial products, and the Blood Donor System for the Red Cross—all of which have enhanced the lives of millions of people.

The HCD toolkit has been used by organizations throughout the developing world, including Acumen Fund, AyurVAID, Heifer International, ICRW, IDE, Micro Drip, and VisionSpring.

“Many thanks to IDEO for their Human-Centered Design Toolkit, which served as a guide for our work.”—Joel Montgomery, 2009 Acumen Fund fellow working on the Micro Drip irrigation system in Pakistan

“An impressive study intended to create a common language around designing for social impact. Most impressive, though, is that the entire body of work is available to all via free downloads.” —John Barratt, IDSA President and Teague CEO

“The HCD Toolkit is probably the most insightful document I have come across within the HCD/interaction design industry.”—Majid Mirza, Micro Drip, Pakistan



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