Internews Center for Innovation & Learning

Internews Center for Innovation & Learning
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Human centered design

Information Ecosystems in Davos

Our information ecosystems research is taking flight in exciting directions, both internally and externally. Within Internews, the Center is contributing to the research design for information ecosystem assessments in additional countries in Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia.


Design thinking draws on methods from fields like engineering and design, and combines them with the arts, the social sciences, and the business world and therefore leading to creation of prototypes.

Learning from Obama's Campaign

Technology, social media and data analytics played a significant role in Obama's 2012 campaign win. Digital campaigners and movement builders around the world are deconstructing the campaign strategies in order to replicate them.

Inside the Cave is an in-depth look at the digital, technology, and analytics operations of Obama for America. The report is compiled from various sources.

A couple of the main takeaways for me included:

Reducing risk and stronger buy-in through design thinking

Not every project requires a design thinking, or human-centered design approach. However, if a project involves trialling a solution for the first time or testing out some new technology that engages with beneficiaries (eg. from a web platform design to an SMS news channel), it makes sense to invest the time and energy to make sure you understand the needs and habits of the beneficiary and ensure that the solution you are designing will actually be used by them.

Understanding Mobile Users

As the mobile device takes on more prominence, there will be a need to make sure that websites will need to be mobile accessible. Technically, this is not difficult - but considerable thought will need to be put in to usability and how best to engage the target audience. The emphasis has to be not on a mobile interface that works across devices, but on an interface that works for mobile users. And as we know, on a small screen, without an ever-present mouse or keyboard, this can be a challenge.

Why do Human Centered Design?

The title of this blog post is borrowed from a section heading of the Human Centered Design (HCD) Toolkit that was produced by design consultancy IDEO back in 2009. According to the Toolkit, HCD "can help your organization connect better with the people you serve. It can transform data into actionable ideas. It can help you to see new opportunities. It can help to increase the speed and effectiveness of creating new solutions."

What is Design Thinking?

Design thinking is a popular methodology that is used by designers to come up with solutions to challenges. A couple of years back, the Stanford Social Innovation Review (SSIR) published an article on how design thinking could be used by not-for-profits.

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