9a. Making connections

Applying design thinking to your own work as a transformative leader

Transformative leadership and design thinking

As the course concludes, we’d like you to think about how you can apply design thinking to your own life, and the problems you’re interested in solving.

The explorer, the gardener, and the coach

Take a few minutes to read this article about how leaders can encourages design thinking and innovation. 

Think about how you could you be the explorer, the gardener, and the coach in your own projects. Do you see yourself gravitating more toward one of these roles than the others?

Case Study: Chris Ategeka and Rides for Lives

Case Study: Rides for Lives

Chris Ategeka founded Rides for Lives to create locally-sourced medical vehicles, and to offer medical services in rural Uganda.

As an entrepreneur and inventor, Chris harnessed a deep sense of empathy for the people living in rural communities - developed in large part through his own childhood experiences in Uganda. Chris was orphaned at a young age, and one of his brothers died while seeking medical care.

Image from ridesforlives.org

Recognizing the urgent need to help poor and isolated communities receive access to necessary healthcare, Chris envisioned a fleet of transport vehicles, along with a mobile unit that could travel to remote locations and offer medical services:

Our mobile Health unit is a refitted bus that contains three different medical stations.
Pharmacy: The pharmacy [is] attended by a full-time pharmacist and contains the most common essential medicines and interventions needed by the local community as determined by the WHO, CDC as well as carry PPE on board.
General Practitioner: A full-time general practitioner staffed to see patients daily.
The Lab: A lab has the ability to carry out tests like HIV, Malaria, cancer screenings, family planing services as well as preventative care.

From ridesforlives.org

Rides for Lives also recognizes the importance of helping local communities address their healthcare needs in the long term - and invests in training local healthcare professionals in an effort to create a sustainable workforce.

For more on Rides for Lives, see: http://www.ridesforlives.org/

Reframing problems in your own community as opportunities for design

Getting started with design thinking in your own projects

It can be easy to spot problems in your community that you are anxious to solve. Often problems can be turned into design opportunities simply by turning the statement into a question (“How might we…?”).

But remember that the problems we assume we’re solving at the beginning of a design thinking process aren’t necessarily the problems we end up solving - you may learn through user research that there are other, or slightly different problems that are more relevant or urgent to users.

Try it out: Identify opportunities for design

  1. Think about how you might reframe problems you've seen in your home community as opportunities for design.
  2. Write "How might we...?" statements for three problems in your home community
  3. Share the "How might we...?" statements you generated with your problem-specific learning group. Discuss which one of these is most intriguing to you, personally, and why.