We are a global group of funders, implementers, and designers committed to the shared vision of design as an approach for achieving global health goals.
For global health practitioners, including funders and implementers, we hope to provide resources and guidance that increase the understanding, appropriate use, and value of design as a complementary approach to addressing the challenges we all encounter in our work.
For the design community, our aim is to better communicate design’s value within the global health community, to clarify how design can integrate into global health programming, to attract the best talent, and to support their engagement in global health.
For the global community, we strive to listen to the people we seek to impact and include them as participants in the design and implementation of holistic and measurable global health interventions.
What was our process?
We used the design process on ourselves by interviewing and co-creating resources with a representative cross-section of the global health community, who have encountered design in their work.
Through our research into how we might best provide the support global health practitioners need, on their path towards the effective adoption and use of design, four key considerations emerged:
(1) Global health practitioners seek clarity about what design is, and how it differs and complements other approaches;
(2) they call for a vision of how design can address global health challenges,
(3) they require practical resources that illustrate how they can get the most out of design in their work; and
(4) they want a roadmap of activities and commitments to strengthen the impact of design and advance our shared vision for global health.to strengthen the impact of design and advance our shared vision for global health.
Who are these resources for?
Global health practitioners’ path toward effectively adopting and using design
These profiles are not static. Rather, they represent different stages people may experience as they embark on a path toward adopting and using design in their work. We explored each profile’s needs, feelings, and fears about using design, within their work, to identify key opportunities to support global health practitioners in the application of design within their work.
We then developed an initial set of resources to support global health practitioners along their design path. View Getting the Most Out of Design to learn how these resources map to the key questions and needs at each stage. To see some of these concerns answered you can view the Conversation Guide.
"The struggle we had was that the design person speaking didn’t understand the technical topic area."
"It seems risky. The design process requires people to fully invest in all the steps in the process without being sure of the outcome."
"Do you really expect us to give you months to understand the context? That is really going to set us back, timewise!"
"Some of the language used was a bit hard to get my head around."
"I understand design for a product, but it is tricker when you think of design for more complex system problems."
"I was not able to understand the proposal – I had to read it again and again."
"I feel scared as a buyer. So much has to do with buying-in to a designer's personality: I don’t want an annoying person who is preaching design and not listening to what I need."
"I had difficulty articulating the end result of the design process to other stakeholders – especially when they already had a clear idea about what output they wanted."
"I want to learn how to ask the right questions so I can scope a design project more strategically."
"How can I be more flexible with my approach to design?"
"I understand the power of design, especially its capacity to bridge experts with different languages and perspectives by focusing on the use case and the user. "
"We need design to be positive and complementary, rather than critical or threatening, or replacing."
"People are trained to work in a system and respect that system. Design helps people think outside of the box, and they need to be allowed to work in that way."
"Working in design requires more than knowledge, it requires a heart, a mindset, and a skill set."
"I need tools that communicate what design can do and help others make decisions about design."
"Design, as a capability, can unlock untapped, workforce potential. Design, as tactical tool, can help make the thing right through precise project interventions. Design, as a strategic tool, can improve the effectiveness of programs by influencing what is the right thing to design in the first place!"
"Right now, design is still faith based. We need to be articulating the process better, executing that process, and circling back with evidence on what we articulated. "