Design for Impact Bootcamp

Who are we designing for?

My favorite quote from AC4D’s Design for Impact Bootcamp this past weekend came from one of our attendees. They had already gotten fast and furious lessons in design research, insight creation, and ideation.

A photo of Jon Kolko giving a lightning-fast overview of the purpose of design and design research methods
Jon Kolko gives a lightning-fast overview of the purpose of design and design research methods

They had gone out and interviewed their fellow Austinites about their relationships with public transportation, synthesized that data, and created a wall of post-its with ideas for addressing the problems revealed through their research: that people never know when Austin busses are actually going to come, that people dread the awkwardness of interacting with their rideshare drivers, that people worry about being bowled over by the electric scooters littering Austin’s streets.

A photo of bootcampers tackling synthesis for the first time
Bootcampers tackle synthesis for the first time

The attendees had so many wonderful, creative ideas for how to improve public transportation in Austin, but in the share-out, one man said about his team, “We had to start over and look back at our research. We realized partway through that we had been designing solutions for ourselves.”

That reflection alone demonstrated the tremendous value of even the quickest introduction to design thinking: it shows just how easy it is to fall into the habit of designing for yourself, to forget that you are not the user, but it also shows how learning and practicing the design process can inoculate you against that tendency.  

Hats off to everyone who came to the Design for Impact Bootcamp. They put themselves in the vulnerable position of learning something new, and they rocked it.

If you missed the Bootcamp this time around, come out for our next one!