Learning how to co-create solutions builds resilience in individuals and teams so they can re-design whatever needs to change!
We have done over 100 projects over 6 amazing years. See some of our latest projects below!
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. Design Gov enables the ministries in the UAE to understand, imagine, and co-create meaningful solutions together with the people of the UAE and to finally start working together between ministries. After all, all challenges are inter-connected.
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. 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.
"The DSIL team are knowledgable human-centered design practitioners that know and teach forward the important foundations of the field, but also push new evolutions of design as it moves to social sectors. Their team shares a sentiment of being bold and creative leaders and role modeled that from the beginning to the end of this project." - IDEO Team
The DSIL team focused on core pillars in the design that matched the values we live with all of the projects we take on.
Collaboration is hard work & building meaningful innovation needs empathy and diversity to thrive.
As experienced practitioners, we strategize, design, and facilitate innovation processes in many contexts; classrooms, conferences, communities, companies, and society. Working in the field as well as the board rooms allow us to combine the intersections of theory and practice and move through projects in highly relevant ways.
Re-humanising Executive Leadership
Stepping back from goals to build 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 a specific goal, yet the leadership was struggling to cultivate the trust that was needed because brilliant minds only take us so far. DSIL stepped in to design and facilitate a custom gathering where leaders would roll up their sleeves to get honest about how they were getting in the way of the larger eradication goal and try new tools to liberate collaboration between organizations. Together, we moved through conflict, re-connected as humans, and set a new way of working so the goal could be achieved sooner paved with a path we could be proud of.
Engaging Virtual Re-Designs
Virtual engagements can be as engaging as physical ones!
We have worked with several colleges, schools, and companies to tackle the virtual transitions that are upon us. A misconception is that virtual moves will take away our ability to communicate well, feel connected, and impact the way we can collaborate. Our teams have been doing this for a long time and so training large groups of committed teams to practice new mindsets and use a simple few tools to liberate the online space, means that we get to see more
Building Strong Circular Economies
Building more holistic measures of "pilot-readiness"
DSIL was hired through a project fuelled through the Circular Economy Initiative called "Global Ocean Plastics Data challenge." Our team co-designed a "live" pilot-readiness assessment tool that added a new, more meaningful conceptual framework for understanding how levels of relevance, resilience, and connectivity influence the performance of early-stage innovation pilots. The aim was to learn how to best support innovators to develop new technology that could help our oceans breath.
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 16-day 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 are still thriving in this community! 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 failures so they could 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 1:1 executive coaching sessions 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 needed to upskill in innovative ways to disperse aid in local communities and market to donors. DSIL customized a hands-on design thinking training using real challenges ICRC teams identified prior to the session. Teams practiced how to spot new opportunities by truly listening to how beneficiaries experience the organization's work. The results? The organization’s internal capacity grew, the team left with a specific path on what to test and experiment (safely) with over the next year. This improved the way ICRC walked alongside communities and unlocked authentic stories that invited in more donors to fund useful things.
A few more of our projects...
Adding 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.
Global 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 work with the bold in the public, private,
and non-profit sectors.