Human Centered Design for Social Impact Communicators

Human Centered Design for Social Impact Communicators


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 professor and HCD expert, Cynthia Benjamin, and MDC Network's Melissa Daar Carvajal will lead this workshop, 10–4 PM, November 16, 2018.

In this comprehensive session, we will explore using design thinking to shape four communications facets.

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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 We'll talk about different ways of framing a challenge and why that matters in strategic marketing and communications, and discuss how defining a problem from different perspectives can lead 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 or a buyer. We will learn some techniques for teasing out the difference between what people say and what they actually need, and discuss why that matters in marketing and communications.


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 practice on some 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 communications, and why data and observation provide complementary learnings in complex social impact settings.