“My a-ha moment was during one of the group sessions when we were practicing brainstorming and identifying linkages. It was realizing that the problem we were trying to solve may not have been the core problem, and we should refocus our thinking.” Workshop participant

Human Centered Design posits us to take our best communicator selves out into others’ worlds and use our empathy and creativity to better understand challenges and address social issues.

Join like-minded communicators in learning about design thinking to strengthen social impact communications. Stanford d.school professor and HCD expert, Cynthia Benjamin, and MDC Network's Melissa Daar Carvajal lead these workshops.

Participants are encouraged to bring a communications challenge to work through the Human Centered Design process at the workshop. Read about our last HCD workshop.

In this comprehensive session, you will explore using design thinking to shape four communications facets:


Developing Strategy: Framing a Challenge with Design Thinking

You'll first be introduced to the process and tools of design thinking, developed at Stanford's design program and d.school. We'll talk about different ways of framing a challenge and their impact on strategic marketing and communications. You’ll look at your communications challenges from these different perspectives leading to very different results.


Understanding a Target Audience: Need-finding and Empathy Tools in the Social Sector

The Design process starts with deep understanding of the user you are trying to serve. That is especially complex in the social sector where you have multiple audiences and the person being served may not be a decision-maker. You will learn some techniques for teasing out the difference between what people say and what they actually need, and discuss how to incorporate this approach in your marketing and communications approaches.


Crafting your Message: Creativity and Innovation in Communications

"To have a good idea, have lots of them," said Thomas Edison. We'll learn techniques for coming up with lots of ideas for both content and message delivery, and discuss how to sort through them for concepts with the greatest potential. As creative professionals you'll have a lot to learn from each other, and we'll address your real-world examples.


Executing Strategy: Prototyping, Testing and Learning Before Scaling

A key component of Design Thinking is iteration, that is, testing your ideas with real users and incorporating learnings into your concept and testing again before implementing a full solution. Lastly, we'll talk about how to apply that to your communications challenges, and how to use data and observation for complementary learnings in complex social impact settings.

Read about our last Human Centered Design workshop.

For more information, use our contact form or call 415-623-6235. The workshops take place in the Excelsior District of San Francisco.