Co-design builds resilience in individuals, creative capacity in teams, and delivers powerful results.
Putting people before process will change the futures we build.
If a government can do it, so can your organization.
What would happen if we could put Human-Centered Design at the heart of the government in the UAE? DESIGN GOV is a national movement that connects the people who serve, to the people they serve. By embedding creative mindsets and skillsets into the way we think and work, Design Gov enables the ministries in the UAE to understand, imagine, and co-create meaningful solutions together with the people of the UAE.
DSIL co-designed and facilitated the immersion courses that would provide the experiences and educational arches powerful enough to shift the way ministries interact and listen to the world and to one another.
In this mad collaboration, the DSIL Team worked alongside the world's best including Palmwood, IDEO, and Atolye. What came from the diversity was innovative thinking and a transformational Learn & Design program unlike any other.
The DSIL Team focused on some core pillars in the design.
Collaboration is hard work & building meaningful innovation needs empathy and diversity to thrive.
As experienced practitioners, we both build and facilitate the building of innovation. We leverage our learning in the field to educate in relevant ways on our executive course and combine the intersections of theory and practice. We help teams move through the hard parts of this work, and learn new tools along the way.
A Revived Path for Executive Leadership
Stepping back so we can rebuild trust.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is in a collaboration with several other global INGO's in an effort to work for the eradication of diseases. Millions of dollars were being spent with brilliant minds at the table to achieve this goal, yet the leadership was struggling to cultivate the trust that was needed. DSIL stepped in to design a custom gathering where leaders would learn the latest practical tools to collaborate between organizations while getting honest about the lasting conflict in the room and its roots. From there, we rebuilt relationships so the work can go farther -faster and some new standards for the working culture can grow.
A Global Summit for Local Solutions
A 16-day summit showcasing the power radical collaboration
DSIL designed, trained facilitators, and implemented the International Development Design Summit in 2017, the first-ever to be hosted in Asia. The summit brought over 25 participants and 50 team members together with the local community to focus on 6 challenges. The two-week event inspired a more inclusive & sustainable approach to development in Southeast Asia. New solutions and wild experiments emerged to meet the challenges in farming, entrepreneurship, and local health. The innovation lab and mindsets still live there! Click here to see what we learned together with MIT D-Lab, Winrock, and Raitong Organics and people from around that work in mechanics, social work, chemistry, government, and many more fields. Diveristy= the best thinking!
Unlocking Strategy that Can Endure Adversity
An annual retreat done differently
Asia Catalyst fights for the right to health around the world. Board members, senior management and field staff came together to get honest about past successes and identify areas to pivot in the face of a changing political and financial climate. DSIL facilitators moved the group through days of co-creating new strategies while introducing new tools for reflection and innovation that leaders could take back to their teams. Always thinking on a systems level, DSIL ensured the new strategy had agility built-in. AC's Leaders also worked on their personal development through one-on-one coaching sessions with DSIL the coaches during nights and checked in with their mental wellness too.
Infusing Design Thinking into
Injecting innovation skills at annual meet-ups
International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Geneva wanted to upskill in exactly how to implement innovation into the way they disperse aid in local communities and market to donors. DSIL ran a hands-on design thinking training using real-time challenges teams were facing that were identified prior to the session. Teams practiced how to spot new opportunities by truly listening to how beneficiaries experience the organization's work; leaving ego behind so we can grow. The results? The organization’s internal capacity grew, the team left with the next steps and a specific path on what to test and experiment (safely) with over the next year.
A few more of our projects...
Adding new skills to powerful local ecosystems
As part of the Australian Fellowship for Local Innovation Systems co-facilitated by DSIL, we brought together young entrepreneurs from 11 countries for 2 weeks of immersive learning. The two-week fellowship supported participants to learn, iterate and continue to run successful and sustainable social enterprises in their local contexts with new skills and a support network of peers.
Redesigning higher education
We co-designed a program with Ashoka universities top students learning social innovation to get hands-on experience with Human-Centered Design while re-designing a dying island in Japan with the elders there. This immersion made design real while pulling the community together to give ideas, unlock insights and see the many resources available for innovation that is all around us. The youth also did nightly deep dives on the role of leadership and how that impacts the results whatever the tasks we take on. See more here.
Building better services + C4D
We worked alongside Marie Stopes clinic services in Cambodia to conduct HCD research that uncovered social and cultural barriers to effective service delivery for women and young girls. The project also worked to build the internal creative capacity of Khmer staff to practice HCD in other areas/services of the clinics. This work included a communication for Development (C4D) plan for the organization’s long term change strategy for the country around women's rights.
The leading hub for innovation and leadership training
Trained more than 220+ cross-sector executive leaders and entrepreneurs in our DSIL Course in Innovation and Leadership. The cutting edge course design pulls over the latest learning from the field and our methodology was built with theories of educational science and emotional intelligence development. We are the certified training hub for HCD and backed by our academic partner; the only UN Mandated Graduate University in the world. Join the 2o2o Course!
"We tend to use the same tools whether they work or
not because we think they are the only ones..."
...there are many more. We will teach you!
The Impact of Inclusive Human-Centered Design
Re-designing Sexuality Education in Thailand
DSIL, UNICEF, and National committed partners wanted to better understand how effective sexuality education is in Thailand. That meant taking the perspective of Thai Youth seriously. After the opportunity to share, we brought the youth along to learn the process of innovation so they could use it to channel their experiences into actionable steps and design new solutions. They did that and more!
The youth built tangible and highly technical solutions. It's the end of the "buy-in" era.
Here is just one example: From the insight that many teen boys felt embarrassed about buying condoms, they re-designed for them. Making packet directions easier to read in one glance, creating characters to explain more about why condoms matter and even added on an app so youth can have a larger discussion about the relationships in their life.
We co-create every project with you from the beginning.
We believe customization is the key, context is everything, and you know yours best.
What We Do.
All of our work starts with building humans, with systems change in sight.
Innovation + EQ Capability Building
With a focus on emotional intelligence, we work with organizations ready to learn things well. Our experiential training is all about hands-on learning that ensures teams have the practice necessary to use the mindsets, process, and skills needed to innovate often. Customized training paths use the real challenges present in the workplace today. From Design Thinking to LEAN methods to Liberating Structures © we will find 1 or more innovation process that will drive the goals of the company. Bonus: our facilitators are also coaches so each learner can see where they are getting stuck and why! Fun fact* this increases emotional intelligence too!
for Innovation or Research
Whether there is a need for groundbreaking or incremental innovation, the DSIL lead designers are equally versed facilitators. We work alongside teams so that capability is built along the way to creating meaningful innovations. Kill two birds.....and next round you won't need another innovation consultant. From 5 days, 6 months, or one-year projects -all lead us to the goals that will strengthen teams long-term with exciting short term results too. Watch the power of uncovering powerful insights that lead to more resilient solutions, money saved, and less time wasted.
Culture Change that Sticks
For organizations ready to consciously transform the way thier humans work together, the DSIL SHIFT model was built to guide sustainable cultural change. It begins by inviting every person into making sense of the current culture then designing a new possible future before we get started on building it. Culture is unique and is based on the way we interact and SHIFT begins there and enables the practice of new liberating skills that will turn into habits faster than you may think. Our coaching team will actively support the change process and stronger relationships between individuals and teams are built every step of the way. Transformation starts at the top, so SHIFT works closely with executive leadership to be apart of the change by learning to lead with new mindsets and skills.
Systems Change Strategy
Innovation is more than ideas or post-it notes. Ideas must turn into tested solutions and tested solutions still must thoughtfully embed into the current system it plans to operate in- as easily as possible. Our team develops systems thinking strategy to ensure we keep in mind the realities of the current system, culture, competitors, and resources that are available in companies and communities. Let's not waste more time creating hollow innovation just for the fun of it.
We work with the bold in the public, private,
and non-profit sectors.