Welcome to the Design Decisions Guide where you'll find everything you need to consider when integrating human-centered design into your investment.

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A step-by-step guide that helps program officers make critical decisions about how to effectively integrate human-centered design into their investments and overall portfolio. Our intent is for the output from these exercises will help program officers establish a strong process for investments that include design and manage expectations for the types of outputs such investments can produce.

Design and what it brings to the field of global health

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Design is a creative and disciplined process that uses diverse skills to analyze problems in context and to pursue innovation while placing the real experiences of people at the forefront.

Design can be applied to the development of products, services, messages, digital experiences, processes, and environments. Design can link each of these elements into a cohesive and meaningful experience, particularly in the context of fragmented health systems. While designers have contributed to health interventions in all of these areas, design as a process, is broader than a single application.

Design alone is also not enough. Complex health challenges often require a multidisciplinary set of approaches and expertise. In this context, design can often be an effective complementary approach. Design can help bring diverse disciplines together in a collaborative manner to unlock new opportunities for positive change in health systems. Design approaches are also well suited to help people take complexity and uncertainty into account and make more sound choices in the face of an unpredictable future. Through a creative, effective and rigorous process, design brings people's needs to the forefront and shapes interventions meant to bring positive changes in their lives.

The intention of this guide

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Given the diverse uses of design in global health, it is natural that you may have questions about how to best apply the design mindset, process, and set of skills to particular investments.  

This guide can help set you up for success and provide ongoing guidance as you think through key considerations and make decisions about your design investment. For example, the guide is designed to help you answer:

  • What role do I want design to play in my investment?
  • What kinds of design expertise do I need?
  • What are the choices I need to make when selecting a design partner?
  • What are some things to watch out for when managing the design elements my investment?
  • How can I set up this project for success?

It is also important to note that this guide is not designed to provide you with a one size fits all answer. Instead, the guide will accompany and equip you with some tips and tools for scoping your design investment and determining who might be the best partner to help you accomplish your goals.