SIDW 2017 - Introducing Human Centred Design
In April 2017, Social Innovation Design Week (SIDW) - a co-designed workshop - was conducted by Toru in partnership with IDEO.org and with the support of Levi Strauss Foundation. SIDW 2017 was conducted as a week-long workshop with Mohammadi Group, introducing Human-Centred Design (HCD) through presenting a prevalent problem to a multidisciplinary team of 20 Fellows. This year's focus had been on improving the work and life experience of RMG workers. The Fellows were immersed into the RMG community at the Mohammadi Group's factory.
The workshop was led by IDEO.org's Rob Gradoville, who has had a phenomenal career in implementing design challenges and teaching human-centric design tools. Rob's knowledge of the human-centric processes coupled with Toru's grasp on curating those processes into a more localised, approachable context, resulted in generating an engaging space for design and collaboration.
“The Fellows on the first day were really excited to come up with solutions. But the first day was about slowing down and starting by observing people and then as a team reflecting on what you've observed, understanding how there might be themes in the observations you've seen, how that might relate to some insight that you think you can say about what might be going on in their limits and maybe how to solve some of the issues. So I think it was challenging yet necessary for people to slow down and pull out ideas organically from the big sea of opportunity as opposed to saying something and then challenging themselves to pinpointing the solution right away,” Rob explains about the workshop.
SIDW was stretched across 5 days with 5 teams working in - developing day care system, improving living facilities, worker's happiness, creating a staff shop and improving health and hygiene in the RMG community. The workshop took Fellows through the intensive process of HCD - immersing, ideating, inspiring and prototyping.
“It was an extremely positive week of learning new things. It also pushed me to come out of my comfort zone. I learned the importance of design thinking and the procedures of working within a framework. Now I think deeply about a problem rather than jumping into the solution,” says Tanvir Hassan, one of the Fellows, who is currently an UX Consultant at iQuantile.
The Fellows also reflected that spending time at the Mohammadi Group factory, understanding its foundations, operations and spending time with the workers were critical in breaking down the stereotypical perspective of how a Bangladeshi RMG factory operates.
“I think part of the (RMG) challenge was kind of having a client relationship with the factory and using that environment as a case study. In this 5 day long workshop, they're (the participants) not only trying to learn design thinking but also its applications with regards to value per client - that's both the RMG workers and the factory itself and honestly, that is a challenge worth exploring. There is no question that the entire workshop has given them something solid to reflect upon,” says Rob.
SIDW had sprung from the intention of sparking new ideas that open up the possibilities of creating solutions through design and collaboration. The human-centric lens that Toru intends to cultivate from the workshop is becoming increasingly necessary at a time when the world faces fundamental shifts with the growth of technology. This initiative was in a manner, an example of how the power of multi-sector collaboration can enable the creation of more human-centric and long term solutions for a sustainable future.