How to design for the common good?

Sabine Wildevuur

How to approach increasing challenges in our communities? On November 10th, design-researchers gathered together for the symposium and workshop at Designing for the Common Good in the recently opened landmark, the Dr Chau Chak Wing of the University of Technology in Sydney, by the architect Frank Gehry.

I presented one of Waag’s tools for social innovation, namely the People Value Canvas (PVC), meant to gain insights in how to design value for the users when developing technology.

A workshop focusing on challenges in the field of healthcare was organized in close collaboration with Waag, the Design Innovation Research Centre of UTS and the ‘problem owners’ NSW (New South Wales) Agency for Clinical Innovation ACI. Two challenges were presented at the workshop by Jenny Caspersonn, Manager Chronic Care Network of ACI:

  1. How can technology be utilized to improve the burden of chronic diseases, such as diabetes for Aboriginal populations, particularly in remote areas of NSW?
  2. How can the use of IT reduce the likelihood of avoidable hospital admissions for people with chronic disease who experience poor social determinants?

Four teams of five people with different backgrounds (amongst others: designers, researchers, health care professionals, business managers) worked for two hours on one of the two challenges, under the heading of one person of ACI, using the canvas as the starting point for the challenge.

The wrap-up at the closing session by Estelle Marque, Course Manager of the Centre for Healthcare Redesign at ACI reflected their experiences, working with the canvas. Marque indicated that the canvas helped to identify person led solutions. She also stated that the PVC offers an opportunity to break the cycle within healthcare. She mentioned that it gave a positive spin to help solving challenges and to come up with solutions. The only drawback was that the real users, namely the patients, were not present at the workshop and it is hard to beat the challenge if you don’t have the people with you.

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