With so many difficult challenges and so many people to help, it is tempting to run with the first feasible solution. Time is often short and moving quickly is necessary. There may be pressure from donors, solutions may have been predetermined by leadership, or there may be legacy solutions in place.
But jumping to a solution can cause more problems than it solves. Following an intentional design process helps you truly understand the problem and to bring your audience in. Take a beat. Design, don’t jump.
Whether you are designing a new program, or improving an existing one, the process is the same. It starts with a discovery phase where you understand the context of the challenge and develop empathy for your audience. Next, you focus the problem and describe it through the eyes of the person you are trying to help. Then you get creative and ideate as many solutions as you can! Next, you prototype and test a solution and try it out in a small way, learning as you do. Then you scale and deliver your solution.
Solutions developed in deep partnership with beneficiaries will drive significantly better outcomes and be more sustainable in the long run.