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First Jumpstart Workshop “How To Design for Humans” A Success

Posted by Bryce Merrill

The first SVP Fast Pitch Jumpstart workshop—How to Design for Humans—took place at Impact Hub Seattle last Wednesday, June 11. SVP Fast Pitch’s three-part “Jumpstart workshop” series is designed to help Social Innovators refine their business plan and practices, help them determine if they should apply to Fast Pitch, and to prepare them for the upcoming competition if they do decide to apply.

Professor Beth Kolko of University of Washington and Shift Labs, a healthcare technology start-up, taught thirty-one attendees how to design products or services with a focus on consumers and users.

Beth Kolkos lecturing at first June 11 Jumpstart workshop

“I think that this workshop gave me more insight on how I should be listening.” –Jon Madamba of RaaSIO, a robotics group that hopes to build an easy-to-use widespread robotics platform and Spin, an organization connecting students to robotics in Washington

“We came to this workshop because we’d like to find out how our organization can reach more people.” – The Borgen Project, a national campaign to fight global poverty

Key lessons on designing for humans

First, designers should proactively garner user feedback and input throughout the entire design process, rather than wait until the end. This allows for a shift from traditional trial and error methods to a more efficient and streamlined design process.

Second, avoid trying to dramatically change users’ behavior. Instead, we should design a product or service that they can seamlessly incorporate into their typical daily routines. After all humans are creatures of habits, so leveraging already existing tendencies is much easier than attempting to figuratively reinvent the wheel.

Third, take into account what people want, not simply what they need. This goes hand-in-hand with reverse innovation, which leverages the abundance of innovation-by-necessity in low-resource countries and applies the same innovation in high-resource areas, where it is not a necessity, but instead a convenience or a want. A perfect example of these two concepts working in conjunction is mobile banking. In many African countries, bank accounts as we know them are not widely utilized; instead, people are able to make and accept payments through their mobile phone. They can also deposit or withdraw cash from these mobile accounts at physical kiosks. While mobile banking isn’t a necessity here in America (due to the prevalence of physical banks as well as innovations such as credit cards), it still can provide convenience for many people, so it has great potential in this market as well.

The workshop’s attendees

The thirty-one attendees represented a wide variety of SVP Fast Pitch applicants, organizations not yet mature enough to apply, and even individuals who came in search of personal education.

In attendance were some local established non-profits such as TAF (Technology Access Foundation), which provides students of color with technology- and science-focused education, and The Edge Foundation, which currently provides social emotional learning opportunities to children in seven school districts.

people in room first Jumpstart June 11 workshop

On the other hand, some attending organizations are still rough ideas, such as Donate to Download, a music distributing service in which consumers would make donations to approved non-profit organizations in exchange for the right to download songs and possibly other media. Another early stage organization in attendance was Pollen LLC, an internet think-space that would focus on the human factor, as well as leveraging the collective vast breadth of knowledge contained in the internet.

The next Jumpstart Workshop “Financial Modelling” will be taught by Michael “Luni” Libes on June 17, 6-830pm (networking starts at 530pm). Register here.

Text and Photography by Bryce Merrill, SVP Fast Pitch Marketing Team