Principle 4: Embrace an iterative approach to program design and implementation

Please use this thread to discuss your experiences, challenges, and successes with Principle 4 in your current work, and how you hope to use it in your future work! How can we work and advocate to ensure we are achieving this principle in our programs?

Explanation: Project teams, particularly implementing partners, must adopt a design mindset that leads with curiosity, questions assumptions, defers judgment, and is rooted in co-creation. Throughout all phases of the HCD process, it is essential to uphold an iterative mindset that allows for continual learning and refinement. Specifically, project teams need to use flexible and evolving approaches in order to respond to the HCD findings as they emerge.

This question came in during the launch webinar Q&A from the audience:

Q: How do you reconcile the need for evaluation to reflect the iterative design process with staying accountable to ethics approval when it often takes time to get ethics amendments?

In response to this question, Dr. Sandra McCoy from University of California, Berkeley said:

I can share one of the approaches we’ve used, I think, quite successfully, at least so far, working with IRB. I think our institutional review boards obviously play a really important role protecting the health and welfare of research study participants, and they’re obviously essential to the evaluation process. At the same time, some of the static protocols, and very fixed methods and processes are actually in opposition of the HCD mindset at times. And then it can be hard to, to respect a really flexible, iterative approach in an IRB protocol. And in some ways, IRB is or is evolving, as we as we talk about, how are they actually going to be more flexible, given the need for us to move a little bit faster in science and evaluation nowadays? So one thing that we have done and you may have other ideas is that we work with a design team very early from the outset, and to identify all of the possible data collection strategies that they might want to use from the beginning. So it’s not necessarily what is exactly going to be planned. But what are the options so that we include those in an IRB application from the very big get go, and if at some point, the team wants to shift into a different kind of engagement with participants, then we have that covered. We build in moments of time in an evaluation where we might want to actually change an implementation strategy or change a data collection strategy.

But the other thing would be - we work really closely with our IRB in terms of just getting them on the phone and actually just talking to them and explaining to them what they’re doing and what we’re doing as fellow individuals who are committed to improving health and protecting the safety and welfare of participants. Rather than interacting with an IRB, like a sort of a black box of people that you never meet and never know, we actually get them on the phone and talk to them about what we’re trying to achieve, and what would meet their requirements for protecting safety. But I’d love to know if others have ideas for how to do this as well.