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Ideo's Non-Profit .org and Human-Centered Design

David Schwartz

Jocelyn Wyatt and Patrice Martin, executive directors of, define human-centered design as focusing "first on the people being served, enabling them to find a solution that’s better."

Is all that different Ideo, then? How is design not human-centered? Are terms like systems design and community design just bogging us down? Design should always factor in the micro and macro levels at play with an ultimate view on the individual human. Thoughts?

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  • Alessandra Rizzotti

    I'm thinking that focusing on individuals could be hard to scale. Definitely the human needs to be a part of design- but what about the environment too? I'm wondering how they effectively survey communities to get a sense of their needs?

    • David Schwartz

      Interesting idea, Alessandra. I think focusing on enough individuals where you keep the individual interest in mind is an effective middle-ground. Maybe terming it community-centered design is a better way of thinking about this, but surely the active agent in every community is the human!

      And yes—how do things like the environment factor into human-centered design? How can we prioritize what is good for whom? What if different people have different priorities? These are all things we should be keeping in mind when designing.