At IDEO.org, we co-design solutions that improve people’s lives in big and small ways. In just ten years, our interventions have reached over 68 million people around the world, but the stories behind those numbers are what matter most. We have launched campaigns that give people access to important information, developed products that make life easier, and developed services that close gaps and promote needed change in communities. Whatever we’re designing, we stay focused on the outcome—how an intervention can improve lives, strengthen communities, and brighten futures. These outcomes are the result of collective effort—brought to life through deep collaboration with partner organizations and communities.
Our approach to measurement recognizes the value in understanding a pathway to impact, not only whether a set of targets has been achieved. During the design process, this requires mapping the problem and understanding the ecosystem, articulating a theory of change, and identifying any risks to success. As we move towards the launch of a new intervention or initiative, we work with our partners to make a plan for impact measurement—identifying what we want to learn and what data needs to be collected—both to measure success and evolve the solution over time.
Services such as the first customer service platform for refugees.Read about Kuja Kuja
Such as campaigns that raise awareness of birth justice.Read about Voices for Birth Justice
Products like a mobile money app for Bangladeshis.Read about B-kash
Through partner feedback, self-reflection, and a fair amount of trial and error we’ve learned through the years about what it really takes to design for impact and have confronted moments when we missed the mark. These essays illuminate the ways in which that learning has shaped our practice and strengthened our work.
Design can help reframe and bring new energy to tackling some of the most complex and studied social challenges. What lies ahead as we enter a new era of design research?
Optimism, tangibility, craft, and coalescence have the potential to surface truly breakthrough solutions. But indexing too highly on any one of them can create blind spots that contribute to some of the most common criticisms of design.
Design prompts us to develop solutions tailored to the unique realities of users, but this emphasis on local nuance can feel in tension with the requirements of scalability. Over the past decade, we’ve honed a few new techniques on designing for scale.
What happens when organizations internalize the design mindset? This is the story of an organization that was driven to more deeply understand its users, cultivate a culture of experimentation, and recognize the role of failure in learning.