What If? – Project 4

What If?

“Embracing human-centred design means believing that all problems, even those that are seemingly intractable like poverty, gender equality, and clean water, are solvable” (IDEO.org). So why not equip individuals experiencing those problems with the mindset, tools, and techniques of a human-centred designer?

“What If?” is a kid-friendly generative design tool in the form of a card game. The goal of the game is to empower El Cocal school children with the creative confidence and optimism necessary for tackling their personal and communal issues. As part of the Global Vision International (GVI) curriculum, these cards immerse the user into the mindset of a designer by facilitating the application of human-centred design methods and techniques to personal and communal issues that they may encounter during their daily life. Throughout my 3-week immersion into the community of El Cocal, I witnessed and learned about the different personal and communal struggles that residents face on a daily basis. These included employment, education, waste management, security, housing, immigration, the natural environment, community culture, transportation and more. Imagine a community that could approach and solve their issues without the aid of external organizations. “What If?” as a platform can be a catalyst for shifting the mindset of the next generation of youth in El Cocal by changing the way they approach their personal and communal problems.

How it works

“What If?” presents children with a problem relevant to their lives and a human-centred design technique to help solve it. The tool consists of two different card decks: Circumstance and Activity.

On the face of each Circumstance card, a “What if…” question is posed. Each question falls under different categories of personal and communal circumstances that El Cocal children could potentially face.

On the face of the Activity cards, an activity based off of a human-centred technique is presented. The techniques used are based off of Design Thinking’s 5 step methodology: Empathize, Define, Ideate, Prototype, and Test. The techniques used are then presented in a kid-friendly way, free of any specialized design language.