PATH Living Labs Challenge – Design Thinking at the University of Nairobi

In September 2019, we wrapped up the first design thinking project at the Design Thinking Program at the University of Nairobi (DT@UoN) in collaboration with PATH. In 2 months, our students went through the 5-step design thinking cycle working on the challenge “How might we increase the motivation and engagement of front-line health workers at the students’ clinic?”.  After a short introduction to design thinking and some hands-on warm-up exercises, we started with a deep dive into problem definition. Every design thinking exercise/project starts with collecting as much information on the problem the design team is trying to solve to get a profound understanding of the problem. The teams conducted desk research, created detailed stakeholder maps, and defined each word in the problem statement.

We then moved to the second step in the design thinking cycle, namely need finding & synthesis. We introduced various human-centered user research tools such as immersion, qualitative research methods, and observation. The student teams then applied some of the tools and developed thorough user journeys and story maps. In the next step, the students synthesized the collected data in their teams and generated opportunity areas for innovations.

Lastly, we introduced different ideation and prototyping tools in the program. The student teams came up with a plethora of ideas and built low-fidelity prototypes of some ideas. On the final presentation day, the different groups presented their low-fi prototypes to the PATH Living Lab team. The prototypes ranged from developing a color-coded mapping system in the clinics to increase orientation and efficiency, a visual outline of a re-design of the pharmacy to make the space calm and reduce stress, and mock-ups for adding a digital health record to every student’s profile on the University of Nairobi online platform. 

The PATH team provided helpful feedback to the teams. In the next step, the students are going to test their low-fi prototypes with users and continue to work with PATH on this and other challenges. We are excited that we found a great partner to launch the SUGAR-affiliated Design Thinking Program at the University of Nairobi this year. We are looking forward to continuing this great work soon. 

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