Design mindsets and HCD insights in ASRH

Some of the design mindsets that come into play when talking about the creation and role of insights in the HCD process in ASRH programs are - empathy, iteration, immersion, and the act of making. This short note explores how this might be. Please feel free to add your own thoughts as well as any ideas on what other mindsets and principles in design might contribute to the way insights are created and used in the HCD process.

Empathy - This mindset is required for practitioners to understand the underlying feelings, needs and desires of young people thus helping them create meaningful solutions. Empathy based approaches like deep immersions help practitioners develop an authentic understanding of an adolescent’s world. These contribute towards the creation of insights.

Iteration - Practitioners in the HCD process seek to learn more about adolescents by presenting prototypes of solutions to them and getting their feedback and inputs. This feedback and input becomes a learning or an insight that informs the next prototype of the solution. The constant iteration of solutions and gathering of feedback generates insights that help in developing solutions that are aligned with the needs and desires of young people.

Immersion - Employing immersive techniques allow practitioners to get a holistic picture of the young persons life not just in the context of their SRH needs and choices but also outside of it. This results in insights around the young persons aspirations, their ecosystem, their likes and dislikes - all of which inform solutions to make them more fit to context.

Making - Practitioners using the HCD process create tools and methods that help generate and refine insights. They imbibe the mindset of creative confidence to quickly make solution prototypes and test them out with young people to learn more about the solution as well as the young person. Making tangible versions of ideas helps in communicating the idea so that it is understood well by the audience.

@Meru Would love to hear your thoughts on design mindsets and their contribution to the role of insights in HCD+ASRH!


Thank you for the elaborate presentation, Kindly clarify at what stage do the adolescent get involved in creating solutions? Thank you.


Thanks for the question @Rimjhim.

I have always believed human centred design to be a philosophy and not a process. You will see the process and its terminologies differ across practitioners and scope of work but the core of that philosophy is the mindsets that keep the human at the centre.
For instance:

  • Empathy contributes to adding depth to the insight by understanding why people do what they do and why they feel what they feel. Without empathy, research would simply document what they do and at max, what they feel.
  • Similarly, iteration contributes to refining the insight by adding nuances to initial learnings to go a step further. Without iteration, research would simply be about proving a hypothesis true or false.

Further, I am excited to be sharing examples from my work to illustrate both these mindsets in the community call this week :slight_smile:

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Hello @Maria, Thank you for reading the post and for your question! Adolescents get involved in the development of solutions from the beginning of the HCD process all the way to the end. Since the process includes having multiple touch points with the adolescents being designed for it involves constantly going back to (if not co-creating throughout) with the target audience of the solution.


Hello Rimjhim,

Thank you for the feedback, I agree, it’s a continuous engagement. This is the only way to ensure ownership.


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I came across this blog post from Acumen that I think fits really nicely into the mindsets piece. With HCD, it really does feel like understanding and adopting mindsets and a philosophy of human-centredness than just following a set process, and these mindsets need to be practiced and trained just like any technical skill. Here is 5 tips to help embrace the idea of “Failing Fast.”