Intro to Design Thinking for Public Health Innovation
ideation-blue

At Capacity for Health, we used to take a traditional approach to problem solving. Most problem-solving frameworks are comprised of a circular model that involves the same core steps:

  1. Identify the problem
  2. Analyze the problem
  3. Create a plan of action
  4. Implement that plan
  5. Evaluate the results

Just type in Problem Solving Model into Google image search and you’ll see what we’re talking about. What has been fun for the C4H team is combing through endless resources to find interesting methods of “how” to do each core step. How do you identify the problem? How do you analyze it? How do you create an action plan? And the more we combed through the how’s, the more we came across a buzzword that was getting thrown around more and more: Design Thinking.

But what is Design Thinking or Human-Centered Design? Well, think of it as a method for solving complex problems in way that focuses on the people who are the most affected by the issue you’re trying to solve for. It’s an approach that many creators/makers/designers in tech have been using to develop products for their clients. Fast Company has a brief article that provides a great summary on the basics.

The more our team learned about the principles of design thinking, the more we used it to innovate the services we provide—whether it was helping a health department design a HIV testing website or creating a new company culture for a nonprofit organization. There are already many professionals across sectors who have applied a design thinking mindset into their businesses. In fact, Harvard Business Review provided a discussion on how design thinking is leading many organizations to shift the way people work. The Stanford Social Innovation Review has also written about this.

So, here’s a fun reading list to warm you up to the topic of Design Thinking, and how those in the public health sector have experimented with its application.

1. Dr. Amy Schwartz provides a nice overview of Design Thinking’s relevance to Public Health for the School of Public Health at Northwestern University.
2. Jesper Christiansen provides GOVLAB at the Tandon School of Engineering at New York University insights into how Human Centered Design can be utilized to transform policy development and public service systems.
3. Our partners at JSI, Inc. provide an overview of how Human Centered Design can be used to face public health issues.

Related posts

nonprofit-management-courses-online-2

Advantages of Taking Nonprofit Management Courses Online

Effective leadership is key to success across every industry, but managing a team in a critical field like healthcare – where good leadership is a need-to-have, not a nice-to-have – can feel especially stressful. Leaders must constantly strive to increase their knowledge and expertise, as well as keep up with the latest innovations in an industry that's always changing.

keep reading

blog-photo-edited-2

8 Examples of Capacity Building Activities for Health Service Organizations

What is capacity building, and how can it help your health service organization grow and thrive? Capacity building means more than just an organization's current ability to perform its mission; rather, it impacts a nonprofit's capacity to deliver on goals over time, to expand its capabilities, and to further succeed in its mission or take on more work.

keep reading

Our Mission

Community-based organizations are the change makers of HIV prevention, care, and treatment. How far can we scale our impact? Let's find out together.

Our Staff

C4H has trained 1300+ and co-designed with 120+ community-based organizations and health departments to make waves of change in their communities.

National Learning Community

Training the next generation of the HIV prevention workforce

The National Learning Community for HIV CBO Leadership is a distance-based learning program that will strengthen the next generation of leaders at community-based organizations. Learn more here

$

Creative Problem-Solving Intensive

In this six-week program, you will be matched with a cohort of CDC-funded CBO managers from across the country to learn and practice methods to accelerate organizational change.

$

View the 2022 Course Outline

$

Meet the Faculty

C4H has trained 1300+ and co-designed with 120+ community-based organizations and health departments to build creative solutions and make waves of change in their communities.

EHE Video & Podcast Series

As the U.S. continues to respond to COVID-19, increased investments in the Ending the HIV Epidemic in the U.S. (EHE) initiative are vital to regain momentum, advance innovation, and achieve health equity.

FAQ's

Have a few questions about our organization, team, and/or work? View our FAQ's to find answers.

Outside Resources

Capacity for Health is a capacity building assistance (CBA) provider and have many resources available.