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Introduce HCD to Members and Leads


The best way to learn design innovation and human-centered design is by doing! Help new members immerse in projects quickly by giving a broad overview of the process before they dive into the details. This helps them anticipate goals to shoot for and possible roadblocks, which helps your leadership team and mentors provide helpful support along the way.

Output: Teams have an overview of the design process and the resources available to help make design decisions.

Effective ways to introduce HCD to members and leads:

  1. Download the Design Sprint Guide, based on what DFA has learned from running Leadership Studio. 
  2. Clarify the goals for HCD introduction as studio leads.
    • The goal is to get the basics, ‘learning’ Human-Centered Design in 30 minutes, or even 2 hours, is impossible! A good introduction helps:
      • Give a broad understanding of process and anticipate their next steps during the term.
      • Share examples of projects that have successfully used the process to inspire teams during the term.
      • Provide key people that members can contact directly for design specific help (DFA, studio mentors, studio leads, etc.)
  3. Create a short overview for all members.
    • Include goals for each step of the process, a tool or tip to complete the step, and tangible next steps for their project to complete after the overview.
    • Check for DFA’s Process Powerpoint slides to tell a 10-minute story of the DFA process. You can adapt this for your studio by adding your own personal project example!
  4. Train team leads to know their role in teaching the design process.
    • Make sure team leads know the process and know their support and resources for team management. It is still important for teams to know this information even if your teams don’t have official ‘leads.’
    • Team leads help guide teams through the design process. The leads do not need to know all the answers; they are the one who asks the right questions and push a team forward. Have leads reflect on their leadership strengths and weaknesses and steps they can take to ensure that teams have a great experience. Click here for a self-assessment worksheet and a strengths & struggles worksheet.
    • What team lead specific resources does your studio have? Consider adding leadership roles like project managers who can help answer questions, or building in time during leadership meetings for team leads to ask questions about project progress and leadership.
  5. Consider holding an in-depth introduction for new members and other members. Check out resources and tips below for great introduction workshops into HCD!
    • DFA’s 2-hour intro workshop: DFA’s HCD introduction workshop covers the goals of Identify, Immerse, Reframe, Ideate, and Build and Test stages of the process and a quick tool to help complete the step. You can scope your own project topic or use the topic from this year’s leadership studio. Click to download the workshop agenda, the workshop checklist, and facilitator's notes.
    • Boot-camps: Bootcamps can be 4-hours-long to 4-days-long. Bootcamps allow you to involve community partners and users into your overview. Members get a taste of the HCD process and the topic can become a kickstart to new team’s project. DFA MSU’s bootcamp video is linked here! Scroll down for slides
    • Involve your mentors in these workshops as well! Check out "Run Workshops with Mentors" to get tips about running a good workshop
    • Check out other great design process intros that you can adapt with the DFA process language like Stanford’s wallet exercise!
  6. Welcome new members and kick off the project.
    • Check out "Kick off projects" for tips on introducing new members to the DFA community and starting projects successfully!
    • Be sure that everyone has access to the resources information in their welcome packet for their reference! Check out “Welcome to the DFA community” for more information on welcome packets!

Network Best Practices

Run a design bootcamp for new members like DFA MSU

DFA MSU spent an afternoon running a bootcamp for DFAers to understand the design process. They worked with people with Cerebral Palsy to help students empathize with their needs, and then ideated and built solutions. Watch the video here!

Run a 2-day 'mini-leadership studio' for your members like DFA Duke

DFA Duke ran a 2-day mini-leadership studio (4-hours total) for all their teams using the slides from Leadership Studio 2015. They choose the topic of engaging girls in STEM. The studio invited experts and had team members call family and friends to do secondary research on the topic and had their community partner attend the final idea presentations.

To adjust the workshops to fit the 4-hour time limit, they changed the number of outputs needed for each step and adjusted the time spent on each activity. Download their slides here.