“Co-creating better questions, not necessarily jump into innovative solutions” was the first big message from Rich Nadworny, when he introduced the topic of People Driven Innovation at Gather’́s first co-creation session. Do we solve our problems faster talking on the phone to artificial intelligence, or to a human being at a customer support? How can we create an inclusive financial service, if the most vulnerable groups are not used to ask about the benefits, and thus never get them? Can you solve many problems with just one action, for example letting Kampala women be educated and work as car mechanics? Can we change the way things used to be perceived?
With these bright example stories, where questions were answered through thinking about people first, Nadworny encouraged working groups to trust the design thinking process and introduced four tools to jumpstart people-driven innovations: focus on helping people; solve as many problems as you can; put people in the center of your collaboration, and challenge the status quo.
Let us follow one of the working groups, and the situation of young people not willing to work at elderly care. Now, we start engaging with one of the tools in order to ideate around the challenge and ask ourselves: What is the status quo now? It did not take long for the group to agree that elderly care is a low status profession and a mentally draining, hands-on physical job without a rewarding salary.
So, how can we re-brand the job, convert employees into the “heroes of society” (specialized care worker from every child‘s “when I grow up”-dream); how can we create big, nice places full of light, attractive to work in – and, finally, how do we re-brand the perception of old people from needy grannies into independent members of society? There are numerous questions to ask, but the last one to answer according to the tool is: Who wins in the end? Not only the elderly and the people working with them, but, most likely, society as a whole.
The first co-creation session at Gather 2019 was definitely a people driven one. Without knowing each other the participants – with diverse backgrounds and unprepared for the challenges they were given – were quickly and naturally engaged with tools to lead the way in challenging the status quo.
Can you think of one personal or societal challenge that you can undertake using one of the four tools, or even all of them? Gather your new peers and try it out.