The Prototyping Mindset

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  • kckoch
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  • I recently joined iDE from the advertising world. I have helped shape social marketing campaigns, build brands, and craft communication strategies. I apply my background in advertising, design and communications to promote iDE's Global WASH Initiative.
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The Prototyping Mindset

Hello SuSanA Forum,

I thought I’d share a post you might be interested in (see link below). It’s written by inCompass, our human-centered innovation lab. It describes the use of a prototyping mindset to develop social innovations. While the post focuses on clean water, the mindset is just as important to iDE’s work in sanitation marketing. Let me briefly describe why this is so.

As you know, markets are made up of a number of variables that are always in flux: the whims of the customer, maturity of the supply chain, improving (or crumbling) infrastructure, not to mention macro factors, like climate change and the overall economy. A prototyping mindset helps us stay flexible and adapt to the continuously shifting environment. In addition to the variables in just one country, we also have to consider the unique contexts of each country where we work. That’s why iDE’s Global WASH team doesn’t attempt to replicate a specific product or a business model. Instead, we rely on the human-centered design process to create a customer orientation, which informs product innovation, which informs scalable sustainable business models.

But human-centered design is only one of the ways we gather information. Combined with randomized control trials and sales data, we try to get a well-rounded picture of what’s going on in our programs. And then we continue to improve and iterate to get closer to user needs. The “user” includes not only the end user, but all stakeholders who affect the experience of the end user, i.e., all members of the value chain who would affect the user’s purchasing experience, from before the moment the end user even considers the purchase, to after-purchase maintenance.

The post by inCompass (see link below) is part of a collaboration with the Rockefeller Foundation and the Bridgespan Group — two longtime partners of inCompass, who recently launched the Innovation Lab Insight Center, a resource and forum for innovation labs globally. Their first series on innovation is ongoing through December and is a useful resource for people who want to advance their human-centered design thinking.

Links:
The inCompass post: www.bridgespan.org/Blogs/Innovation-Labs...et.aspx#.VHoMUFfF-5w

inCompass: www.incompass.org/?page_id=29

iDE: www.ideorg.org/

Thanks for reading.

Warm regards,

KC Koch
Communications, iDE's Global WASH Initiative
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