• Innovation Equity Design Process

    By engaging in the Innovation Equity Design process, you agree to participate in a journey to uncover the intertwined histories that have shaped the problem and its attempted solutions; you agree that the process is also a product and you will thoughtfully consider how you engage with your co-designers; and you agree to embrace new information with the awareness that it may provide insight into the problem space that you may not have otherwise considered.

  • Create an Inclusive Team

    Lightbulb diagram illustrating that the user is currently in the "Create an inclusive team" portion of the innovation equity design process.Any good design process begins with a well-curated design team. This step is among the most important because while you may have the best intentions of which challenge to address, it is imperative that you have the right makeup of people to address it.

    Design teams are collections of people who come together for the purpose of thoughtful planning and consideration to a specific end. For challenges that require a new approach or have an undefined solution, you would assemble a design team. Within the innovation practice, the ideal design team draws together members of communities who will be most impacted by design decisions and who are able to function in a number of functional roles including:

    • Team Lead(s),
    • Project Manager(s),
    • Technical Designer(s),
    • Subject Matter Expert(s),
    • Context "lived experience" Expert(s).

    Exploratory Design Research

    Lightbulb diagram illustrating that the user is currently in the "Exploration Design Research" portion of the innovation equity design process.What is Design Research?

    Design Research is an umbrella term for a set of practices that intentionally help us to understand a problem more deeply, with a particular focus on the needs of people who are most impacted. Needs include those that are explicit (people are aware of them, and can describe them) and latent (they might show up in behaviors, or “workarounds” that people are not always aware of until someone points them out). Design Research is intended to inform the creation of solutions so that the solution meets needs, and is not “a solution in search of a problem,” or does not create harm by seeming to be a solution but one that does not help or work.


    Solution Creating

    Lightbulb diagram illustrating that the user is currently in the "Solution Creating" portion of the innovation equity design process.Ideation also known as brainstorming is a term coined by Alex F. Osborn in his book, Applied Imagination. It refers to the spontaneous generation of ideas in response to a problem. As the design team moves into the solution creating phase, it is important to remember the mindsets of the process and draw from the inspiration phase.

    The process of prototyping is one of progressive approximation—getting closer and closer to the final product, knowing that our understandings of the context and the proposed solutions will change as we go. Prototyping, and particularly the concept of progressive approximation, allows us to follow a rigorous process of testing and learning, to change a lot at the beginning, and to begin to stabilize towards the end. Prototyping as a process encourages us to acknowledge constant change, but also asks us to find points of stabilization that enable ideas to be put into action.