In what AYSRH program contexts is HCD ideal to use?

A few weeks back, CORE group held a great webinar on M&E practices to evaluate HCD projects. There were a lot of great questions from practitioners that resonated with questions I hear often in our events and discussions with members. I wanted to give some space to that question here, about when HCD is actually an ideal approach to use vs. other approaches to participatory programming.

In what AYSRH program contexts is HCD ideal to use? Are there any examples or cases where HCD would not be an appropriate method?

PS: if you want to listen to the recording of the CORE webinar, here is the link - passcode: 3aKl=@r=

Thanks for posing this question @liz_mcneil! In my opinion HCD can actually be applied in a broad range of contexts, however, it may not always be the best choice in all cases. Before going into more detail I want to just articulate what I am referring to when I say HCD. For the purposes of this post I am looking at HCD in its entirety which means that all phases of the process are involved - inspiration, ideation, prototyping & testing, and implementation.

The HCD process has often been linked to being able to solve for ‘wicked problems’. These are problems that are complex, multidimensional, have many interdependent factors that affect it, and are in flux. Quite often these are significantly impacted by socio-cultural contexts. For such problems HCD is able to provide boundaries - define whose perspective is paramount to consider (the user who is being designed for), and narrow in on the objective which is to create a solution for the problem statement that works for the users being designed for. It also takes into consideration the users ecosystem and how it relates to the problem at hand and the solution being created. Finally, it accommodates for a solution that is going to evolve with the problem which is particularly useful when you have a challenge that is in flux.

AYSRH program contexts that are aimed at creating tangible solutions that might take the shape of products, services or models for users are best suited for the application of HCD. HCD is often good at defining and creating how something can be delivered in terms of approach, format, tone, language, and/or vehicle of delivery etc. It is also a great process to use when looking to make adaptations to a solution that may not be working as intended OR contextualising a solution that has been implemented in one context to another context.

Would love to hear thoughts from others in the field who may have used HCD in their work!

1 Like