Internews Center for Innovation & Learning

Internews Center for Innovation & Learning
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On September 17th, Summer of Design held a Design Challenge Showcase and Awards Event. Three teams, Albemarle, Chesapeake, and Davenport (named for three streets in Washington, D.C.) presented their solution for redesigning the Humanitarian Data Toolkit Box to Internews the week before. We were very impressed by how strong the ideas were. Each team really listened and thought through the design process.

Team Albemarle proposed a comprehensive system for the information needs assessment using the Humanitarian Data Toolkit (they called it the HDT system), thinking through the whole journey that would take a team from pre-crisis, to setup, training, data collection, analysis, and return. They suggested a learning portal that would support the researchers, in addition to visual aids that would create efficiencies in administering the survey in the field. Their short video describes the system illustrates modifications to The Box itself.

In their words, “We have redesigned the HDT Data Toolkit (the ‘box’ itself) to be better organized and more intuitive. We also significantly improved the training curriculum and made several recommendations that will contribute to a reduction in overall training time. We even devised a virtual portal as a way to build a community around the HDT System, so that best practices and lessons can be shared amongst its users.”

Team Chesapeake focused on The Box, creating color-coded compartments for each of the key elements of the toolkit easy to find, assemble, and put away when finished. As they described it, “The color-coding and compartments of the EasyPack solution give the HDT visual organization and an aesthetic that we believe makes it very appealing for the user. But form follows function: the goal of the color scheme was to make the process of unpacking and setting up the technology components, as well as repacking them, as simple and clear as possible. Connecting the components becomes as easy as matching colors instead of a search through endless bundles of black cables for the right connector. Minimizing the confusion eases the burden on the researcher who is also tasked with recruiting enumerators and preparing their training.” Team Chesapeake even created a logo for the EasyPack that is a visual reminder of the organization of the toolkit.

Team Davenport took a different approach, suggesting using a backpack and hanging dopp kits to reorganize the contents and make the whole thing more portable. They made some suggestions to improve the visual intuitiveness of the paper survey and reduce the amount of time needed to do a survey using pencil and paper. They also proposed a quick start guide to get things going in the field. They ended their presentation with an excellent question, one with no easy solution: “Does the length of the training and data collection process constitute a real problem area?”

…and the winner? Team Chesapeake! We will be taking them out to dinner in early November to celebrate the judges’ choice for the most impactful, desirable, appropriate, realized, measurable, feasible, and viable proposal.

The real winner, though, is Internews. We learned a lot from the process about design thinking, design contests, volunteerism, and pilots. (More on learning in the next blog.) We also have three excellent prototype designs, all of which offer useful adaptations to the HDT piloted product.

The question is: where will we go from here?