solving through design thinking,
strategy and leadership
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The idea for workshop was born through multiple conversations
UNDP Uzbekistan Team
Project: Social Innovation and
Volunteerism in Uzbekistan
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Day 1: Innovation
Day 2: Context & Empathy
Day 3: Storytelling
Days 4–5: Prototyping & Testing
Day 6: Strategy
Day 7: Making It Work
Day 8: Team Presentation
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In this presentation we will share the main lessons learned.
Avoid Cosmic Solutions
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Depending on how the educators sets the context for the brainstorming and discovery, the solutions may be very
impractical. SIV project had some experience in the past when a discovery process lead to more confusion. Avoid
unachievable solutions. Need to provide a pathway to something tangible.
How do you provide an appropriate level of reference without “leading” the students down a pre-determined path.
Need to strike a balance.
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Choose a problem in a context very familiar to the students. In this case we chose the bazaar, one of the most
ancient institutions in the region.
Choose Your Language
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Terminology was a key obstacle for us. Some of the terms don’t even exist in Uzbek or has a different tint to it.
For example “prototyping”
Students had to experience some things that we tried to explain before they really got it. (“hacks”)
Obstacles to design thinking/innovation are ampliﬁed when there’s a language barrier.
Making vs. Talking
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Incorporate the idea of making prototypes as early as you can. Less talking more doing.
make clear to the students what the expectations of prototypes are—not ﬁnished solutions.
Work vs. Play
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An example that playful interactions foster creativity even in a serious situation (UNDP workshop example)
Problem: Make people feel comfortable enough to play. UNDP people did not want to draw. As soon as they got
materials, they were much freer.
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We involved people who work in local nonproﬁts. They shed light on what it means to do social-innovation and
how you can do it.
Perform vs. Present
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We didn’t let them use slideshows. Only what they can make by hand. Encourage storytelling.
Students were angry and confused by it.
Going beyond traditional activities/media was a challenge.
Students Will Always
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Students will always take the knowledge and tools in unexpected directions. One of the exercise turned int a deep
discussion about the meaning of brands, their promises and how to identify that.
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Sometimes it helps to throw an unexpected challenge to the students but it may violate their trust.
We had a panel of business leaders for critique but some students felt uncomfortable.
Who gets to see their work and how it’s evaluated.
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Ensure that whatever you create is easily sharable. That doesn’t just mean giving the material away. It’s ensuring
that you use the proper license (e.g. Creative Commons)
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How do you make sure people can iterate on the process further and independently. The second iteration of the
learning experience is what matters most.
Timing and Pacing
•Is 8 days too long?
•What are the tradeoffs?
•What is the goal?
•How long does it take
to change minds?
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How do you decided the length of the workshop. There are trade-offs and you need to think about them in
•Sources of funding
•Other institutions of support
•Identifying systemic opportunities
The “Now what?” Issue
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Where do the students go from here? Make it work even if there are no grants.